On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Rays set a franchise record with the 18th shutout from their pitching staff. Sunday was the opposite story. The Rays offense was shut out for the 16th time this season, this time by Clay Buchholz, as the Boston Red Sox rolled to a 3-0 win in the third game of the four-game set between the two teams at Tropicana Field.
Alex Cobb was solid for the Rays, going 6.1 innings allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 7 hits, striking out 6 while walking 1. Cobb had managed a 1.35 ERA in 8 starts and 53.1 innings pitched from July 9th to August 21st before throwing 4 up-and-down innings against the Baltimore Orioles on August 26th. In this game, though, Cobb got right back on track, proving that his uncharacteristic labor in that game was not going to become a trend. Unfortunately for Cobb, Clay Buchholz mystified the Rays the entire game on his way to a Maddux–a complete game of under 100 pitches. He allowed just 3 hits and no walks in his 9 frames while striking out 6, turning in a jewel of an outing amid what has been a disastrous season for him on the whole.
The Rays managed just 3 hits on the day, one each from Kevin Kiermaier, Matt Joyce, and Jose Molina. Joel Peralta allowed a run in relief of Cobb before Grant Balfour (0.2 IP) and Kirby Yates (1.0 IP) retired every batter they faced, three via the strikeout. Kiermaier had quite an interesting game, making a pair of excellent catches, but also being overaggressive and diving on what turned into a Mookie Betts double. We know how good a defensive outfielder Kiermaier is, but he gets into trouble at times when he tries too hard to make a play. The good news, though, is Kiermaier is just a rookie, and he has plenty of time to refine his hustle to make him an even better centerfielder.