It probably wasn’t fair to expect Alex Cobb to immediately turn himself back into the team ace.
In his second game since rejoining the Rays, Cobb gave up four runs on nine hits, including two Brian McCann home runs, over six innings, while striking out only one Yankee batter. The Rays were still in the game until the very end, but Erasmo Ramirez came on to try to get the last out of the ninth inning and immediately gave up a walk-off home run to Tyler Austin.
There were some good signs, though. In his first game, Cobb was able to throw his fastball past the Toronto batters but he rarely got them to swing and miss on his secondary pitches. Tonight he had more success at that, drawing six whiffs on 34 changeups and three whiffs on 16 curves. Those aren’t amazing ratios, but they’ll do. Cobb didn’t have the same swing-and-miss results on his fastball as before, but we shouldn’t expect him to. That’s not what the pitch is for.
As for balls in play, Cobb did actually induce a fair amount of soft ground balls—14 in total—which was great to see. The problem was that almost everything that wasn’t a ground ball was hit pretty hard. Oh, and he allowed one run to come home by hitting the runner at first with a pick-off attempt while Jacoby Ellsbury stood at third.
He’ll get there.
Offense Comes in Twos
The Rays have some history of hitting home runs off C.C. Sabathia, and this game did not disappoint in that regard.
Kevin Kiermaier pulled it into that short Yankee Stadium right field porch twice off Sabathia, and Steven Souza Jr. blasted two home runs (to center) as well, the first of Sabathia, the second off Jonathan Holder.
But Brian McCann’s were maybe the best-hit pair of homers, as he was all over two Cobb fastballs that were way to high up in the zone.
Some other notes:
- The Rays faced former Ray Kirby Yates in the ninth. He struck out Logan Forsythe on some high heat, and while he gave up a single to Kiermaier, he did his job, getting the other lefty he was meant to face—Evan Longoria—to pop out, also on high heat.
- The Kirby Yates inning showed it well, but you can see it in their changeup useage also. I think the Yankees have a similar pitching approach to the Rays.
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