CHICAGO — RHP Alex Cobb's final start did not go well Tuesday, as he allowed eight runs to the White Sox on eight hits, including two home runs, over three innings in an ugly 13-6 loss that was the Rays' fifth straight and eighth in nine games.
But even a second straight rough outing won't take away from the overall good of Cobb's return from May 2015 Tommy John elbow surgery, even with a 1-2, 8.59 mark in five starts.
"It's definitely not the note I wanted to end on," Cobb said. "I walked off the mound and I felt a little upset about it, but then I got to the dugout and I realized I was healthy and looked back on the entire journey of it and feel fortunate to be in the situation I'm in."
Manager Kevin Cash reinforced that point to Cobb, that he should consider his return a success.
"That was really the only goal, for him to get back here and show that he was healthy, and he's done that," Cash said. "He's going to have a normal offseason, which I know he's looking forward to, and he'll come back into spring training totally healthy."
Though unhappy with the "quality and crispness" of his pitches, Cobb said he can see the potential for next season.
"I know what I need to get back to form," he said. "I think with an offseason starting from scratch, building back up, getting rid of the bad habits, I'll get there."
After Cobb allowed three runs in the first, the Rays (65-92) answered with two, but when the Sox kept scoring, they couldn't keep up. Plus, they were sloppy again in the field, making one error and several misplays. The 13 runs allowed matched their most.
There was some good, as RHP Chase Whitley, also returning from Tommy John surgery, continued to impress, working 32/3 innings and allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits with five strikeouts. Also, three hits and solid outfield play by 1B/3B Richie Shaffer, a homer and double by C Curt Casali and the first big-league hit for INF Juniel Querecuto.
KK OUT AGAIN: CF Kevin Kiermaier's left hand felt better Tuesday, but still not good enough for him to play, as he found out when taking some swings. "Right after my contact where you turn your wrist over, it just wasn't feeling like it needs to be," he said. "So hopefully another day will help."
Kiermaier was hit by Boston LHP Eduardo Rodriguez on the same hand he broke and had surgery on in May, leading to a seven-week DL stint.
Adding to Kiermaier's frustration is that his parents made the trip from their Indiana home to see him play. "That stinks, too," he said, noting they were in Detroit when he broke his hand.
MORE MEDICAL: INF/OF Nick Franklin has been limited again by the left hamstring he strained Sept. 15 but is pushing to return to the lineup, possibly tonight. … SS Matt Duffy got a good followup report Tuesday from Dr. Thomas Anderson on his surgically repaired left foot and will head home to California in a boot, with rehab starting in a few weeks. … LHP Xavier Cedeno didn't come on the trip, but will stay in St. Petersburg a few more weeks for treatment of torticollis, a condition involving tightness of the neck muscles. … OF Steven Souza Jr. went home to Seattle and has started rehab on his surgically repaired left hip.
MISCELLANY: LHP Drew Smyly is lined up to pitch Sunday's season finale, but the Rays may consider other options, including Whitley. … OF Corey Dickerson remains hot, hitting .380 (27-for-71) over his past 19 games. … The Rays on Monday became the 22nd team in major-league history to hit and allow 200 homers in the same season. … 3B Evan Longoria lost a hit as a result of an MLB-reviewed scoring change of a play in the Sept. 20 game that is now an error on Yankees 3B Donovan Solano.