This game goes to Luke Hochevar. The Rays can make all the excuses they want. They’re injured, they’re tired after Sunday’s doubleheader, and they could not take advantage of their opportunities in this game, going just 0 for 7 with runners and scoring position, but they stranded just 6 men on base because Hochevar didn’t give them much at all. Hochevar went the complete game shutout, blanking the Rays for all 9 innings as he allowed just 7 hits and 1 walk while striking out 8. 73 of his 114 pitches were strikes. Hochevar has been a major disappointment since being the number one overall pick by the Royals in 2006. But on this night, he was about as good as he has ever been.
Alex Cobb did not have his best stuff at on Monday night. Alex Cobb is never an overpowering pitcher and on this night, his command was off and his pitches were as hittable as ever. His signature changeup was staying up in the zone. His fastball was missing. His curveball was non-existent. And the runs didn’t stop. Mike Moustakas doubled in a run in the first. Then the Royals got 7 hits and 5 runs in the third inning, and the inning only ended on a baserunning blunder by Salvador Perez on his RBI single. Then Yuniesky Betancourt got a sac fly in the 4th and Cobb was down 7-0. But Cobb wasn’t done. He couldn’t be. The Rays bullpen was shot. They were coming off a doubleheader and all of Game 2 was entirely pitched by relievers. Cobb had to give the Rays everything he had. And he did just that. Cobb battled. He gutted out a game he had no business being in. Cobb went the complete game, allowing 8 runs on 13 hits in 8 innings a nightmare of an outing but saving the Rays from burning out their already exhausted bullpen. Cobb was the first pitcher to throw a complete game allowing 8 earned runs or more since Randy Johnson in 1998. Cobb struck out just 1 while walking none and posted a 16-4 groudnout to flyout ratio. Cobb wasn’t missing any bats with his pitches. He wasn’t fooling anybody. But he just stayed composed, not letting his emotions get the best of him, and just continued pitching as everything went wrong. Cobb, threw the same amount of pitches as Hochevar, 113, and actually threw one more strike. But this wasn’t his best night, not by a longshot. However, hee may have been the Rays’ MVP in this game nevertheless. The Rays lost this game, and lost it in embarrassing fashion 8-0. But thanks to Cobb, they have a chance to win the war. The Rays lost tonight. But with a rested bullpen, they’ll look to take the next two games of this series and put this game on the backburner. Chris Archer goes against the Royals’ Bruce Chen on Tuesday.