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August 16, 2013

What You Need to Know

The Rays Rotation Gets a Boost

by Daniel Rathman


The Thursday Takeaway
For a while, it seemed as though the Rays might not miss a beat in the absence of Alex Cobb, their most reliable starting pitcher during the first two-and-a-half months of the regular season, who was struck in the head by a batted ball on June 15. From the following day through July 30, Tampa Bay led the American League with a 2.64 team ERA.

But as the adage goes, you can never have too much pitching. Matt Moore succumbed to elbow soreness after a rough start in the Bronx on July 28. Jeremy Hellickson, who stepped up when Cobb went down, has been shelled to the tune of nine runs in 7 2/3 innings over his first two August starts. And from the trade deadline through August 14, the Rays’ 5.38 club ERA was the second worst in the majors, ahead of only the Angels’, whose efforts on the mound were so brutal that even their beat writers got snarky.

Last night, Cobb returned from the disabled list, his concussion symptoms gone and his blister trouble resolved. He wasn’t perfect—far from it, in fact—but he flashed signs of the early-season form that kept the Rays afloat when mainstays like David Price and Hellickson were scuffling.

The 25-year-old right-hander brought his typical low-90s fastball velocity to the bump, and along with it an effective changeup and curveball that coaxed four swings-and-misses apiece from the Mariners’ lineup. All told, Cobb threw 88 pitches, 53 of them for strikes, 11 of which came via whiff. The only blemish on his five-inning, one-run line was a solo shot by Raul Ibanez with one away in the second.

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Related Content:  Tampa Bay Rays,  Jay Bruce,  Tom Gorzelanny,  Alex Cobb

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