Alex Cobb was good tonight. He effectively handled the potent Yankees for seven strong innings of two-hit, two-run ball . Now, each of those hits was a solo home run, but he kept the Rays offense (or lack thereof) in the game. Really, it was an inspired seven innings of baseball by the sixth man in the rotation. Unfortunately, his night didn't end there.
Cobb came back out for the eighth inning and surrendered three straight hits to Raul Ibanez, Nick Swisher, and Eric Chavez to give the Yankees two more runs and more than enough of a cushion to beat the listless Rays tonight.
Cobb finished the night with 7+IP, 4ER, 5H, 1BB, and 4K on 105 pitches. All three hits in the eighth were well struck, though Pena was close to making a play on Swisher's ground ball double down the line. If he makes the play, he has a good chance at the double play, and Cobb gets a chance to make it out of the inning unscathed. I mention this because of the Rays offensive 'outburst' in the ninth.
The Rays offense looked lost against Yankees starter Ivan Nova for eight innings tonight. Just a Desmond Jennings single, a Sean Rodriguez "double" (thanks to an unnecessary slide by Nick Swisher), and a Matt Joyce walk marred his first eight frames. He would also run into trouble in his final inning of work when he tried, and failed, to record his first career complete game. I know ESPN was panting like a dog in heat over the chance to use the headline "Super Nova," but consecutive triples to Jennings and B.J. Upton ended Nova's bid for the CG. Rafael Soriano would come in and close the door with Upton still at third, but I wonder how the Rays might have played it down 2-1 instead of 4-1. I'm not going to lose much sleep playing the "what if" game, but the thought has crossed my mind.
Bullets after the jump...
- Hideki Matsui hit three balls to the track tonight. Of course, all three were caught, but the Rays offense was so bad for the majority of the night that "warning track power" is a bright spot.
- On the other hand, Ben Zobrist looked so depressingly out of whack tonight. I know he's been struggling at the plate recently, but tonight, especially in his ninth inning AB against Soriano, he was all upside his head at the plate. Fundamentals aside, he was clearly mentally unprepared at the plate. Now, y'all know I'm a Zobrist homer, but I think the guy needs a cleanse, be it a mental, spiritual, colon or all three.
- Should Cobb have gone back out there for the eighth? In hindsight, no, and I know I complained about it up top, but he was pretty dominant tonight. Tex's homer was a blast, but Cano's, while being a well-struck frozen rope, was a first-row porch-scraper in right-right-center. So, two run game, young pitcher at 98 pitches, but he's throwing well, and your offense is looked outmatched all night. What do you do? Might have to make another "Select You Individual Journey" with this in it.
- With the loss, the Rays drop all the way to third place in the tightest division in baseball.
- Tomorrow, David Price looks to stop the bleeding against C.C. Sabathia @ 7:05. I'm thinking we need one of those C.C. five homer games to get the O back on track.