Game 90: Cobb Flounders As Rays Drop Opener to Indians

By Robbie Knopf

The Rays’ season in a nutshell: Alex Cobb allows a flyball to Shin-Soo Choo originally ruled a home run. B.J. Upton notices something and signals to the Rays’ dugout to argue. The play goes to replay and is overturned, placing Choo on second base. Cobb forced Asdrubal Cabrera to ground out to first base, advancing Choo to third. Then Jason Kipnis grounded out to second baseman Will Rhymes with the infield in, with Choo holding at third. Cobb was one out away from a great escape from immediate trouble. He threw a first-pitch breaking ball to Michael Brantley, a pitch that was actually within the zone, but Jose Molina let it go right through his legs, scoring Choo to give the Indians a 1-0 lead.

Alex Cobb doesn’t have dominant stuff and needs great control and command to survive in the big leagues. He simply didn’t have it on Monday night. He tossed 3.1 innings allowing 3 runs, 2 earned, on 5 hits, striking out 3 while walking 5. He tossed 86 pitches, 43 strikes and 43 balls. It was hard to watch. Unfortunately it happens. Hopefully Cobb can recover in his next outing.

The Rays bullpen was as good as it gets in relief of Cobb, tossing 5.2 shutout innings. J.P. Howell escaped the bases loaded, 1 out jam that Cobb left before tossing a shutout 5th as well, before Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta, Jake McGee, and Fernando Rodney tossed a shutout inning each. McGee was especially dominant, tossing a nine-pitch perfect inning with 2 strikeouts and a ground out.

The Rays gradually worked their way back into the game. Jeff Keppinger had a 4th inning RBI single to pull the Rays within 3-1. That was all the Rays could manage against Zach McAllister, who tossed 6 innings allowing just 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 5 while walking 4. Desmond Jennings did greet reliever Esmil Rogers with a long solo homer, a great sign for him, to pull the Rays within 3-2, but the Indians relievers got through the rest of the game unscathed as the Indians won 3-2. McAllister (4-1) earned the win, Cobb (4-6) took the loss, and Chris Perez earned his 26th save for Cleveland. The Rays drop to just 46-44, just two games over .500. This team is falling apart, plain and simple. They have to find something to turn themselves around. Matt Moore goes up against Josh Tomlin on Tuesday night as the Rays hope that they’ve seen the worst they can be.