1. Rays

Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Astros game

Published Apr. 22, 2017

RHP Alex Cobb seemed to find his old friend, throwing his changeup more effectively at times — but not all the time — than in his first three starts, and 23 times total Friday, which is an encouraging sign. Picking off the Astros' Jose Altuve twice at first also helped. What started well defensively, with dazzling back-to-back plays by SS Tim Beckham and CF Kevin Kiermaier, turned into a mess as the Rays failed to make several plays at key moments, the biggest by 3B Evan Longoria allowing the decisive run in the seventh. Example 3,094 of how the little things can hurt came in the fourth, when C Derek Norris failed to catch a Carlos Beltran foul pop for the third out, and not only did Beltran single, but so did the next three Astros, leading to two runs and a 3-3 tie.