Alex Cobb Befuddles Reds With The Thing In 1-0 Victory
Alex Cobb (1-1, 1.89 ERA) delivered seven scoreless innings allowing only four hist striking out five and not issuing a walk. He left after making 87 pitchers and now has 15.1 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to his first start against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 1st. He was followed to the mound by Jake McGee who worked a perfect eighth inning to set the stage for Grant Balfour to come in and close the game.
Grant Balfour retired the speedy Billy Hamilton to begin the inning but then issued a walk to Joey Votto but got Brandon Phillips. to ground into an around the horn double play to end the game. It was Balfour’s second save in as many days and his fourth save on the season. The victory improves the Rays to 3-2 on the current 9-game road trip and 7-5 on the season.
Alex Cobb’s changeup which has been dubbed Thing #1 and was once again difficult for the opposition to connect with. He threw the pitch 21 times 15 for strikes including seven swing and misses. All five of his strikeouts were swinging strikeouts and all came on the changeup (Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto, Brayan Pena, and Jay Bruce [twice]).
He was given an early 1-0 lead on a solo homer by James Loney leading off the second inning and was able to cruise through the Reds lineup facing very little opposition prior to turning the game over to Jake McGee in the eighth inning.
His afternoon wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies as he found himself in trouble in the second inning after Joey Votto led off with a wind aided ground rule doubled. Brandon Phillips followed with a hard hit single to center. Kevin Kiermaier came charging in and made a strong throw to the plate to gun down Votto trying to score. Brandon Phillips moved up to second on the throw home but was erased trying to steal third for the second out of the inning. Cobb struck out Jay Bruce to end the inning.
He also worked himself into a bit of danger in the sixth inning by hitting Zack Cozart with a pitch to lead off the inning and then uncorking a wild pitch to allow him to advance to second base with nobody out. Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon moved him to 3rd base on a sacrifice bunt but Cobb bore down and got Billy Hamilton to pop out to shallow left and Joey Votto to ground out to second to end the inning.