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)

Rays confident Cobb can extend season vs. Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — For the second time in less than a week, right-hander Alex Cobb holds the Rays' fate in his hands.

It was Cobb who catapulted Tampa Bay into the American League Division Series with a gutsy win in Wednesday's wild-card game in Cleveland. And, tonight, Cobb is charged with helping the Rays stave off elimination, down 0-2 in the best-of-five series with the Red Sox heading into Game 3 at the Trop.

For Cobb, who turns 26 today, his best birthday gift would be to give his team tomorrow.

"It's going to be the same mind-set — it's win or go home," Cobb said. "I don't want to be the one sending us home. I'm going to give everything I've got out there."

Third baseman Evan Longoria, 28 today, shares the same birthday and similar sentiments as his teammates that "you couldn't ask for a better guy than Cobb on the mound" in the pivotal game. Longoria praised Cobb's "bulldog mentality" and "winner's attitude."

"You can see it in his eyes; he wants the ball (tonight)," fellow starter Jeremy Hellickson said. "He wants these big games."

And Cobb (11-3, 2.76 ERA) has been at his best against the best, going 6-1 with a 1.63 ERA in nine starts against 2012 playoff teams.

"He's been really, really good for us," Longoria said. "That gives everybody confidence, that gives us life."

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Cobb has been remarkable considering what he has been through, missing 50 games following a concussion after being hit by a line drive June 15. Since Cobb's mid-August return, he has gone 5-1 with a 2.41 ERA, becoming the Rays' most consistent pitcher.

"He's been nails the whole year," Kelly Johnson said. "You're not going to go perfect and pitch shutouts all the time, but Alex has been one of the best starters in the game when he's healthy. And if he can have those starts back, I think you'd see some numbers and his name would be in consideration for some of those Cy Young-type talk."

Cobb's shining moment came Wednesday, when he battled out of several jams to pitch 6⅔ scoreless innings in a 4-0 win over the Indians in his first postseason start. He said he learned a lot from that experience, from how to take velocity off pitches when he's "amped up" to mentally preparing for the moment.

"This time around has been a lot more calm," he said. "Once you go through something before, you know what to expect. … I know how I'm going to feel going into the game, the concentration level and the adrenaline level."

Cobb knows he has his hands full. Boston scored a combined 19 runs in the first two games of the series and has given Cobb trouble; he's 0-1, 5.16 in four starts this year, including allowing six runs in the first inning June 10 at the Trop.

But Cobb enters tonight's start confident, having gone 7-0 in 13 home starts. He believes the key will be executing his versatile repertoire, which includes a changeup and spike curve.

"He's got good stuff," Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said. "I watched him pitch the other day in Cleveland and his stuff was … it was on."

The Rays hope Cobb's "on" tonight.

Rays confident Cobb can extend season vs. Red Sox 10/06/13 [Last modified: Sunday, October 6, 2013 10:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ex-Buc Booger McFarland becomes ABC college football analyst

    Blogs

    Former Bucs defensive lineman Booger McFarland is continuing his broadcasting rise by joining ABC's studio coverage for the upcoming college football season, ESPN announced Tuesday.

    Former Bucs lineman Booger McFarland (No. 92) will become an ABC studio analyst this college football season.
  2. Rank the top 10 Bucs players? Here's what fans said

    Blogs

    We mentioned this morning that is was a fun challenge, in response to Sports Illustrated's ranking of the NFL's top 400 players, to ask fans to rank their top 10 Bucs players.

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston during last year's Bucs win against the Seahawks. Evans and Winston finished 1-2 in an informal Twitter poll of fans ranking their top Bucs players.
  3. Brain study examined 111 former NFL players. Only one didn't have CTE.

    Storm

    Researchers studying the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy found that 99 percent of the brains donated by families of former NFL players showed signs of the neurodegenerative disease, according to a new study published Tuesday.

    This combination of photos provided by Boston University shows sections from a normal brain, top, and from the brain of former University of Texas football player Greg Ploetz, bottom, in stage IV of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. According to a report released on Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association, research on the brains of 202 former football players has confirmed what many feared in life -- evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a devastating disease in nearly all the samples, from athletes in the NFL, college and even high school. [Dr. Ann McKee | BU via AP]
  4. How do Bucs players rank? SI puts 16 in their NFL top 400

    Blogs

    It's a fun exercise for Bucs fans: If you had to rank Tampa Bay's best players, how would your top 10 look?

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans, shown at mandatory minicamp last month, was ranked as the No. 70 player in the NFL by Sports Illustrated's Monday Morning Quarterback. That's much lower than he was ranked in NFL Network's top 100 this summer.
  5. Florida Gators want a White Out in home opener

    Blogs

    At least the Florida Gators are trying to do something to spice up this season's home opener.