Tampa Bay Rays
Rays notes: Cobb's outing one for record books
ST. PETERSBURG -
The overnight check of the record books revealed a few more notable achievements Friday night by Rays RHP Alex Cobb.
Cobb became the first pitcher to strike out every hitter he faced in an inning and still allow a run.
His 77 strikes were the second-most by a pitcher who didn't finish the fifth inning. San Francisco's Mark Gardner threw 81 in 42/3 innings against the Phillies on Aug. 18, 1996. Tampa Bay's Wilson Alvarez also threw 77 in 42/3 innings against Seattle on May 28, 1999.
Cobb was the first pitcher since Arizona's Randy Johnson against Houston on July 4, 2001, to record 13 strikeouts over the span of the first 14 outs.
Cobb tied the major-league record for the most strikeouts in the first three innings (nine), through four innings (11) and through five innings (13). The last pitcher to strike out nine through the first three innings was Ron Guidry of the New York Yankees exactly 27 years earlier — on May 10, 1986 at Texas. Guidry finished with 11 strikeouts in seven innings.
Cobb generated 23 swings-and-misses, 21 with his change-up; he averaged seven swings-and-misses in his first six starts. His previous high was 18 in June 2012, when he allowed two hits and struck out 10 in seven innings against Miami.
“I don't know if that's a good thing.” Cobb said of his strikeout total after the game. “You kind of want to go five innings every time out. It's cool to have that after an outing that you're not too pleased with. Walking away you can shine a little light on it.”
Manager Joe Maddon said part of Cobb's success was due to the fact the Padres hitters never faced him.
“Element of surprise,” Maddon said.
Also, Cobb had great late movement on his change-up.
“It really was moving that much,” Maddon said. “There was such great action off that. Talk about (RHP Jeremy Hellickson) all the time, when it starts out as a strike low then it becomes a ball, obviously it's a pretty good pitch. I just think from where it started out of his hand to the time it got to the plate was really presented as a strike, and I think that's why he got so many chases on it.”
Jennings update CF Desmond Jennings was not in the lineup Saturday for the second straight day because of a sore groin.
Jennings, who suffered the injury Thursday while diving back to first base on a pickoff attempt, said he was surprised not to see his name in the lineup and said he would be ready for late-inning work if needed.
“It's not bad,” he said.
Maddon said he wants to rest Jennings so the minor strain doesn't turn into a major injury.
“We'll see how that all plays out,” Maddon said. “I like the idea of giving him a rest right now. I think with a little respite right now, this guy is going to be even better when we bring him on back. We'll just see. Truly, there's nothing wrong. I just want to give him a break, and it's working out pretty nicely right now.”
Staying in rotation Monday's off day would give the Rays a chance to juggle the rotation to separate the lefties — David Price and Matt Moore, but Maddon said the Rays will remain in rotation.
“The part that can be beneficial is the right-handed hitters get to play back-to-back, may be an advantage,” Maddon said. “But they're two different kinds of pitchers and they're really good. It's hard to determine if there's an advantage or disadvantage there.”
Noteworthy Saturday was the 22nd time the Rays have faced a pitcher making his major-league debut. They were 9-12 in the previous 21 games. … The Rays will wear pink ribbons on their jerseys today for breast cancer awareness on Mother's Day. Some players will use pink bats. The baseballs used in the game will have pink stitches. The Rays are 7-8 on Mother's Day, with wins the past two seasons.… 3B Evan Longoria and farm director Mitch Lukevics took part in Saturday's PNC Bank Miles for Moffitt one-mile walk/fun run at USF. … The Rays took their team photo Saturday. Closer Fernando Rodney had a plantain jammed into his belt.