Rays Game 7: Missed Opportunities Waste Alex Cobb’s Brilliant Outing

By Fletcher Keel

It was that type of afternoon for Cobb and the Rays. (Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

The Tampa Bay Rays dropped the final game of a three-game weekend series with the Texas Rangers by a final score of 3-0 as Texas was able to salvage the final contest against the Rays after losses in the first two.

The Rays were able to hit Rangers starter Yu Darvish quite well in his season debut, as they knocked one hit in every inning that Darvish pitched in, but were unable to advance runners past third base, and left a total of 10 men on base while going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Doubles by David DeJesus, Evan Longoria, and Ryan Hanigan gave the Rays chances, but they simply could not score. Alex Cobb, statistically, pitched a better game than Darvish– they both went seven innings, struck out six, and walked just one, but Cobb allowed just three hits through his seven innings of work, while Darvish allowed seven. But at the end of the day, the thing that counts in baseball is runs, not hits, and the game was tied after 7 innings.

The game would remain tied until the top of the 8th with two outs. Shin-Soo Choo hit a groundball up the middle, but Joel Peralta tipped with his glove, preventing Yunel Escobar from throwing Choo out at first. One batter later, Peralta delivered a fastball on a payoff pitch that Elvis Andrus turned around and sent it beyond the left field wall to put the first runs of the game on the board. The Rangers would add another run in the top of the 9th against Josh Lueke. Evan Longoria made the Rays’ first error of the season and a soft single gave the Rangers two runners on. Lueke got a double play ball, but then Donnie Murphy hit a groundball that newly-extended Yunel Escobar made a tremendous play on, but he could not throw Murphy out, allowing Adrian Beltre to score. The game came to an end when Joakim Soria sent the Rays down in order for the first time all game.

On display for the Rays today was very solid pitching. Alex Cobb rebounded in a big way from his rough first start of the year, overwhelming the Rangers with his fastball, splitter, and curveball. Speaking of splitters, the first three pitchers that the Rays sent out today–Cobb, Peralta, and Lueke–all feature splitters in their arsenals, not a common sight. Lueke also pitched well, only getting penalized by Longoria’s error and some bad luck. Unfortunately, Peralta’s mistake to Andrus proved to be the difference as the Rays simply could not push any runners across the plate.

The Rays now hit the road for a three game set against the Kansas City Royals, which will begin tomorrow. Matt Moore is scheduled to go for Joe Maddon, while KC is scheduled to throw Jason Vargas out onto the mound. First pitch is set for 8:10 PM.