The Rays’ bats came to life again yesterday as Tampa Bay defeated the New York Yankees 8-3. Not only was the offense hot, but Alex Cobb threw a gem of a game for the Rays as well, going 8.1 innings while striking out eight and allowing two earned runs, both of which came in the ninth inning. You can read more about Cobb’s outing, and how he’s really stepped up to fill the shoes of James Shields’ spot in the rotation, in Gareth’s recap of the game here.
The eight runs were enough yesterday to hand CC Sabathia and the Yankees a loss, despite another shaky appearance from the Rays bullpen. Cesar Ramos was brought into the game with one out and one man on in the ninth inning. His first seven pitches were balls and he quickly walked the first two men he faced, loading the bases for David Adams. Adams hit a two-run double and that would be all we saw of Ramos for the day.
Of course, panic ensued as most thought that even a five-run lead wasn’t safe at this point with the way the Rays’ bullpen had been pitching lately. Joe Maddon was forced to call on Joel Peralta, who has been pretty much the most reliable reliever in the bullpen this season. Joel was able to strike out the two batters he faced and the Rays avoided the sweep.
Throughout the month of May, Peralta has thrown 13.2 innings, allowing only three earned runs on nine hits while striking out 17 and walking only five. His ERA on the season is 1.93, while the rest of the Rays bullpen’s ERA’s are all over 5.4 with the exception of Jamey Wright (3.98 ERA), per Baseball Reference. Alex Torres also has the 4.1 innings without allowing a run, but he’s back with Durham now.
Joe Maddon spoke to reporters after the game about his assessment of the season so far,
"Borderline excellent. Had we been able to do some things a little bit better to this point, you would consider it an excellent season right now. So we just have to continue to try to get right, primarily in the bullpen, and get that thing right and if we do that, we’re going to be just fine."
Also, per the Rays post-game notes, Yankees’ skipper, Joe Girardi, had this to say about Alex Cobb, "He’s really good. The young man knows how to pitch. He locates extremely well. He’s got one of the best changes—or split-change, whatever you want to call it—in the game and he’s pitching."
The Rays take on the Marlins for the next four games, two at the Trop and then two in Miami. Jake Odorizzi will take the mound tomorrow against Jose Fernandez. Here’s to hoping our bullpen will get some rest over this next series!
-Paul Casella of MLB.com talks about the back-to-back two game interleague rival matchups around the league.