Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb didn't have the best night of his career on Friday, but the young right-hander still managed to make major league history.
Facing off against the San Diego Padres at Tropicana Field, Cobb sprayed five hits and gave up three earned over just 4.2 innings of work.
Even though the 25-year-old couldn't keep the Padres off the scoreboard, he did manage to make plenty of them miss. Cobb struck out 13 batters in his short time on the mound—12 of which went down swinging.
According to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, Cobb’s 13 K’s on Friday make him the first pitcher in Major League Baseball history to ever strike out that many in fewer than five innings:
Joe Smith @TBTimes_JSmith
#Rays Cobb became first pitcher in major league history to strike out 13 or more batters in fewer than five innings of work5/11/2013, 1:13:46 AM
The problem for Cobb, though, was that he didn’t get a lot of three-pitch strikeouts. Struggling a bit with location, Cobb walked two batters and ran up high counts before fanning the opposition. Rays manager Joe Maddon was forced to pull Cobb from the contest after he racked up 117 pitches.
The Tampa Bay skipper will undoubtedly be looking for more efficiency from his burgeoning star the next time out.
Nevertheless, this is just the latest indication of Cobb’s prodigious talents. A highly touted prospect in the Rays system, this season has seen Cobb start to truly blossom.
Heading into Friday night’s start, Cobb had posted a 4-2 record with a 2.79 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. His strikeout rate checked in at only 7.07 batters per nine innings, but that statistic stands to spike following such an outlier outing.
Mixing his low-90s fastball and great off-speed stuff, Cobb made batter after batter flail at his out pitches. The only time San Diego seemed to make contact was when batters were taking advantage of Cobb’s mistakes.
Still, he made too many and stands as the pitcher of record. Cobb was replaced by Josh Lueke in the top of the fifth.