Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cobb struggles, Rays lose 4-2 to Blue Jays

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays all were well aware of how long, how arduous and how volatile the season really is, and the first reminder hit them starkly on Tuesday.

The crispness and euphoria of Monday's season-opening win, and much of the crowd, was nowhere to be seen in a 4-2 loss to the Blue Jays that wasn't even interesting until the end.

"For all those fans that were coronating us after (Monday), you can see how this thing works," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "And we understand that."

Alex Cobb, whom Maddon was speaking of in ace terms before the game, did not look anything like the part, lacking his usual command or tempo in lasting only five innings.

The Rays offense, dashing and dynamic in posting nine runs on Monday, was much less effective Tuesday. They were kept off the board until the eighth, primarily by Toronto starter Drew Hutchison, a Lakeland High product returning from Tommy John surgery.

And Tropicana Field was a quiet and spacious place, with the announced attendance of 11,113 a dropoff of about 20,000 from the day before. Based on projections for tonight and Thursday, the three-day total may not be much more than Monday's sellout 31,042.

Maddon insisted there was still plenty that was good about the game, such as the four shutout innings from the bullpen, the way they battled back from a 4-0 deficit to make it close and specifically how Evan Longoria hustled to stretch a single to give them a chance in the ninth.

"A lot to love," he said.

There also were the first two uses of replay, including an unsuccessful challenge by Jays manager John Gibbons in the ninth, with both calls confirmed.

Working for the first time when it counted with new catcher Ryan Hanigan, Cobb was not nearly as sharp as he was last season or this spring. After warming up well, he started miserably, allowing a single to leadoff man Melky Cabrera, a one-out full-count walk to Jose Bautista and then, after falling behind Adam Lind 2-and-0 then 3-and-1, making his biggest mistake, serving up a three-run home run. It was the first homer with two (or more) on that Cobb has allowed.

"Babied a changeup in there," Cobb said. "It was, say, outer third to him, up, belt-high. Probably his favorite place he could ask for a ball."

Lind saw it pretty much the same way, a pitch that "stayed right there over the plate. … I don't think (Cobb) was doing what he normally does with it, just trying to get a strike."

Cobb said it was a night-long battle to get command of his fastball, and a losing one based on his departure after only five innings, having thrown 104 pitches.

"Everything was just a little bit off," Maddon said.

Held to just three hits by Hutchison and reliever Aaron Loup through seven innings, the Rays rallied. They got one in the eighth, Wil Myers doubling in Matt Joyce, who reached three times from the leadoff spot. And another in the ninth, Desmond Jennings doubling in Longoria. But after Hanigan walked with two outs, Yunel Escobar struck out.

"I really like the fight in our group," Maddon said.

Game three of 162 is tonight.

Marc Topkin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

Cobb struggles, Rays lose 4-2 to Blue Jays 04/01/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 12:22am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa lawyer Fred Ridley to be new chairman of Augusta National, Masters' home (w/ video)


    AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fred Ridley first came to Augusta National to compete in the 1976 Masters as the U.S. Amateur champion, and he played the opening round in the traditional pairing with the defending champion, Jack Nicklaus.

  2. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, activate Alex Cobb


    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  3. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    The Austin Pruitt experiment might be over, or at least put on pause. After allowing six runs over seven innings to Seattle on Friday, the rookie didn't get through the fourth Wednesday, giving up five runs on four homers. His ERA for past six starts: 5.29.

  5. Six home runs doom Rays in loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — A curve that didn't bounce was the difference Wednesday as the Rays lost 7-6 to the Blue Jays in front of 8,264, the smallest Tropicana field crowd since Sept. 5, 2006.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) greets center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) at the plate after his two run home run in the third inning of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.