The Tampa Bay Rays are absolutely reeling. With their grip on the final AL Wildcard slot slipping and in desperate need of a win, the Rays turned to Alex Cobb to right the ship and inject some life into a clubhouse that is on the verge of collapse.
Cobb, for his part, performed well. He lasted just 5.2 innings and surrendered three runs but gave his team a chance to win. Unfortunately, it seems like any mistake by a Rays starter is the deathknell as the offense continues to mired in a month-long offensive malaise. This night was no different, with the Rays squandering bases loaded opportunities on two occasions and failing to drive in runners in scoring position, going 1-10 in that area, and leaving ten men on base.
The Rays did get a run on a pair of Yunel Escobar and David DeJesus doubles in the third inning and again when Ben Zobrist walked in front of a two-out Evan Longoria double in the seventh. But the continued inability to capitalize on opportunities loomed large as the game headed to the eighth inning and the Rays still trailing by one.
The Rays needed some magic, and they would get a little bit of hope from James Loney, who launched a game tying home run off Workman. Fernando Rodney came in and shut down the Red Sox batters in the ninth and suddenly things were looking up. There was hope in Tropicana Field. The swagger could be back.
It wouldn't last long.
In the tenth inning, Joel Peralta walked leadoff-man Dustin Pedroia and a sac bunt and an intentional walk later Joe Maddon decided to pull arguably his best reliever for his worst starter, Roberto Hernandez. Maddon's thought process was that Hernandez could induce a groundball to escape the inning and work deep into extras if needed. The process was questionable, the results disastrous.
Fausto walked Mike Napoli on four pitches. Mike Carp his a grand slam on the first pitch. Ballgame. Season? Maybe.