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TB 3, HOU 6: Houston makes plays; Rays let one slip away

It felt like a classic Rays game...

Houston Astros v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

This felt like vintage Alex Cobb. Including the Rays offense not giving him a ton of support, outside of a handful of solo HRs.

Cobb pitched very well, limited a very tough Houston offense, and getting some ugly swings on some beautiful Change-ups. Cobb pitched 6 strong innings and struck out 7.

Alex Cobb mixed his pitches and changed locations well. This is always a vital part of a Cobb pitched game, but against one of the best offenses in all of baseball, it was key to keep the Rays in this one late.

Cobb was also a pest to Jose Altuve: a sweet revenge for all pitchers everywhere. Altuve is a pesky hitter, who gets on base and uses his speed to be an absolute terror. That was not the case tonight, as Alex Cobb was able to pick off Altuve at 1B.

And then he did it again! On the bases: Cobb-2, Altuve-0

Dare I say it: that was Shields-esc!

The 3 outs of Carlos Beltran

Cobb only really faced two problematic innings tonight. In the 4th, with 2-outs, Carlos Beltran stepped to the plate, with one HR already in the books.

The first out Carlos Beltran would hit was a high foul pop up behind home plate. Unfortunately, Norris could not pick it up in the Trop Dome (it giveth and taketh away) and was unable to make the catch.

The second out was a perfectly located high and tight pitch on a 2-2 count. That was pitch 5:

Unfortunately, Beltran lived to see another pitch, which he would hit just barely past the shift and Brad Miller’s glove, by just an inch or two, for the third possible out.

Instead, the inning continued, and Houston would capitalize on those extra chances, getting three more hits after Beltran to tie the game at 3-3.

Cobb would be left in for one inning too many (get your debates ready for next weeks Cash Considerations) and came out to start the 7th. With his pitch count into the high 90s, Cobb would give up a single, double, and then a walk to load the bases, and that would be the end of his night.

Jumbo Comes up Large

With the bases loaded jam, Jumbo Diaz would not let the Astros get a ball out of the infield. The first grounder went right at a pulled in Evan Longoria, who lost the handle of the ball in transition to set up the throw to home.

Longo would instead opt for the safe play, and get the out at 3rd. Jumbo would then get a weak foul pop-up and an easy ground out, to escape the jam. Just a reminder: he was cut by the Reds and the Rays got him for basically nothing.

Rays Longball Offense not enough

Solo dingers from Corey Dickerson, Longo, and LoMo was the extent of the Rays offense. It seemed tonight that everytime the Rays would get a hard hit ball, it just found a Houston glove.

Houston would tack on a few more runs in the 9th to take the first game of the series. Important role players like Longo and Norris misplayed routine moments, while Mallex (leg) and KK (sick) were both missing in action, leaving Shane Peterson and Peter Bourjos exposed.

The Rays were good enough to win this game, but they didn’t.

Extra Notes

  • Derek Norris had a real rough night, and the dasterdly Luck Dragons came out in full force. In one instance, Norris lined a sharp ball the opposite way against the Houston shift...and went straight at the one and only player left on the 1st base side. Also, this liner that he pulled:
  • CB Bucknor had a real rough time at the new SunTrust Park in Atlanta, calling a strike well off the plate, and a ball right down the middle, and a trapped ball a catch. Well, CB was at 1B for tonight’s game, so how did he do? You tell me:
  • Kevin Kiermaier made a totally Kevin Kiermaier catch at the wall:

Kiermaier would leave the game later on, and for a few brief minutes everybody had some mini-panic attacks. Turns out, KK was feeling a little sick, and left with the always mysterious “Illness”.