Alex Cobb Impressive in Return to Tampa Bay Rays Rotation After Injury
An overabundance of starting pitching coupled with defense and timely hitting.
That has continued to be the Tampa Bay Rays' winning formula since the team started its improbable rise to greatness in 2008. The 2013 Rays are trying to keep the winning tradition alive, and to do so they need Alex Cobb.
Cobb was the most consistently dominant pitcher in the Rays rotation through the middle of June. Then came the ball to the head that on June 15 would sideline Cobb for two months.
Thursday night Cobb took the mound for the first time and did everything he needed to do against the Seattle Mariners. Although he only lasted five innings, he only gave up one earned run on a Raul Ibanez solo homer. The win improves Cobb's home record to 5-0 with a 2.91 ERA in 10 starts this season at Tropicana Field. Cobb was excited, to say the least, following Thursday night's game:
It was awesome. It’s a feeling you can’t duplicate anywhere else but being out on the mound and competing at the big league level. It was definitely a great experience to have gone through everything I went through and then to be able to come back out here and get a win was really nice.
The outing was far from perfect but could still be categorized as another successful step on his path back. The positive note is that Cobb, as excited as he was, also seemed to have a really good grasp on the importance of the outing after all that he went through to recover from the injury:
I still came out of the game knowing that there are things I needed to improve on, that I wasn'’t happy with, but you kind of gotta put that thought process aside a little bit and take a step back and realize what you did go through and appreciate what you’ve been able to accomplish in these last two months. Tonight I’ll take that thought process home.
Rays manager Joe Maddon stated in his postgame press conference that he was impressed with Cobb's return:
That was really fun to watch. He was really good. …He was really sharp. His fastball was very good, really quick out of the hand. Curveball was outstanding. He really threw some great curveballs. I don’t think the changeup was as effective as it normally can be. But the fastball, curveball was really good today. But it’s really impressive to see him come back from that injury that well.
As the postseason approaches, the Rays will need to maintain a healthy roster with depth in order to make a deep October run. If you look within the rotation, Matt Moore is still trying to work his way back from injury, and there is always concern that another pitcher could go down.
If everyone does manage to remain off the DL, the Rays will be able to have a rotation led by David Price, Moore and Cobb, with Jeremy Hellickson, Chris Archer and Roberto Hernandez all available for the bottom of the rotation.
That caliber of depth will continue to make them a true threat as the season draws to a close.
All quotations obtained from official Tampa Bay Rays team notes.
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