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Game 152: Evan Longoria’s Two RBIs Not Enough For Rays

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The Tampa Bay Rays took on the New York Yankees on Wednesday looking for a sweep in Derek Jeter‘s final series at Tropicana Field. For a while it seemed that Rays’ starter Alex Cobb was going to show the same form that almost no-hit the Yankees just last week, but ultimately Cobb ceded three runs and the Rays fell by a score of 3-2.

Cobb dominated through the 4th inning, allowing just one hit and no walks. But in the 5th, Cobb lost his command. His fastball was creeping up in the zone, where Cobb rarely ventures, and his split-change was hanging over the heart of the plate rather than featuring its normal late break out of the zone. As such, Cobb allowed a pair of runs in the 5th and another in the 6th. That could have been much worse too, as Cobb loaded the bases in the 6th with no outs, but a fantastic leaping catch at the wall by Wil Myers with one out turned what seemed to be a possible bases-clearing double into just a sac-fly. Cobb’s final line was decent in and of itself, as he went 6.0 innings and gave up three runs on three hits and three walks while striking out three. But relatively it was disappointing given the fact it was just the second time since the start of July that he allowed three or more runs in a start.

After Cobb, C.J. Riefenhauser came out to start the 7th. Riefenhauser showed some control problems at points at Triple-A Durham this year, but he looked fine in this appearance, throwing 6 strikes in 8 pitches. Riefenhauser got two quick outs before ceding the game to Grant Balfour, who induced a groundout off the bat of Jeter. Balfour then stayed on to also throw a scoreless 8th inning. Joel Peralta came on for a shutout 9th to keep the deficit at one run. Following three seasons for the Rays in which his ERA was never under 3.63, Peralta has been underwhelming this year, posting a 4.37 ERA in 59.2 innings. His $2.5 million option seems relatively cheap anyways, but given the fact that the Rays have plenty of capable relievers that can play for the league minimum Peralta could be at risk of not having his option exercised this offseason.

The Rays offense plated their first run in the top of the 4th when Evan Longoria hit his 22nd home run of the year, a solo shot. It was Longoria’s 89th RBI of the year, which oddly enough surpassed the 88 mark he had last year despite the fact that his OPS is 119 points lower this season. Longoria added another RBI in the bottom of the 6th, when he drove in David DeJesus on a groundout. The Rays struggled from there on out, not plating another run when they needed just one more to prolong the game, and also being on the wrong end of an “immaculate inning” when Brandon McCarthy struck out the side on 9 pitches in the 7th inning. Overall the team managed just 4 hits and went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position, and no player had multiple hits on the night.

The Rays will have an off-day tomorrow before they start a home series on Friday against the Chicago White Sox. That game is slated to start at 7:10 ET with Jeremy Hellickson and Jose Quintana on the mound.

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