Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Alex Cobb keeps up Tampa Bay Rays' run of exceptional pitching

OAKLAND, Calif. — RHP Alex Cobb had a few difficult moments Wednesday, none more so than when he allowed a fifth-inning homer to Brandon Inge that cut the Rays lead to 2-1 then a double to the next batter.

But Cobb, after a calming mound visit from 1B Carlos Peña, stepped up and set down the next three A's, going on to a solid seven-inning outing that continued the Rays' dazzling run of strong starts.

"I think it's kind of like hitting; it's just a contagious thing," said Cobb, who improved to 5-8, 4.60. "You see one pitcher doing good, you want to match him. You definitely don't want to be that guy, to be the weak link in the rotation."

He had nothing to worry about Wednesday, escaping a messy 25-pitch bases-loaded first and the fifth-inning tipping point. And, actually, not in his last start, either, when he allowed the Angels three runs in one inning and little else in the other six.

"That was more what he looked like last year in July when he came up to help us out," manager Joe Maddon said. "Better command of his fastball, he threw some really good curveballs, his changeup had more depth to it. … That's by far his best back-to-back (starts) to this point."

The Inge homer was the first Cobb allowed to a right-handed hitter in the majors, ending a run of 219 plate appearances.

MATSUI RELEASED: The Rays granted OF/DH Hideki Matsui's request to be released, allowing him to pursue opportunities elsewhere in the majors.

The Rays designated Matsui, 38, for assignment last week after he hit .147, with two homers and seven RBIs, in 95 at-bats over 34 games.

Rather than retire, or go back to the minors (or Japan), Matsui wanted to try to keep playing in the majors. Maddon said he thinks Matsui can, attributing part of his struggles to signing a minor-league deal May 1 and rushing though an abbreviated "spring training" before being called up May 28.

"I see him as moving well," Maddon said. "He can still play the outfield, not every day, but he can still do that. I did not see a lack of bat speed — I disagree with the scouts. I think his mechanics are messed up."

THANKS FOR COMING: RHP Josh Lueke arrived midway through Tuesday's game after his hurried callup to add a fresh arm to the bullpen and was sent back to Triple-A Durham after Wednesday's game without being needed. The Rays are expected to add a position player by Friday, with OF/C Stephen Vogt and INFs Will Rhymes and Reid Brignac among the possibilities.

MEDICAL MATTERS: Evan Longoria is set to resume his rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham tonight, having been off Tuesday and Wednesday (as the team was) after reporting soreness following Sunday and Monday games at DH.

Maddon clarified that Longoria had "general soreness," not specific to the left hamstring that has sidelined him since a partial tear on April 30.

DH Luke Scott (oblique strain) is hoping to progress to batting practice on the field this weekend, then head out for a rehab assignment he expects to last several games (5-10 at-bats).

JULY GUYS: Though July was middling overall — the Rays were 13-13 and didn't win or lose more than two in a row — the pitching was memorable: A 3.03 ERA that was best for any month in franchise history, and 241 strikeouts (in 2402/3 innings) that were the most for any team in July since 1964, when Sam McDowell's Indians fanned 264.

MISCELLANY: CF B.J. Upton had his first two sac bunts of the season, though on the first he was trying for a hit. … RHP James Shields pitched his seventh career shutout in Tuesday's 8-0 win, the first without allowing a runner past first. … 3B Ryan Roberts snapped an 0-for-19 streak with the first of his two hits.

Alex Cobb delivers his second straight strong start and earns the victory in this one, settling down after a 25-pitch first.

Getty Images

Alex Cobb delivers his second straight strong start and earns the victory in this one, settling down after a 25-pitch first.

Alex Cobb keeps up Tampa Bay Rays' run of exceptional pitching 08/01/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 2, 2012 11:02am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Buccaneers WR Mike Evans previews 2017-18 NBA season, predicts Warriors will be dethroned

    Bucs

    Tampa isn't the greatest basketball market. In fact, it's just about the worst.

    Mike Evans and Jameis Winston celebrate after connecting for a touchdown against the Bears in September. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  3. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, of Russia, celebrates after scoring a goal on the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  4. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  5. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]