Today the Tampa Bay Rays faced former Ray pitcher James Shield. As every fan knows, Shields has been part of the Rays organization for 12 years and leads many of the pitching records for the team. He (along with pitcher Wade Davis and infielder Elliot Johnson) was traded during the off-season for several prospects, including power-hitter Wil Myers. Before today’s game, several Rays’ players, coaches, and reporters spent time catching up with Shields.
- Desmond Jennings CF
- Matt Joyce LF
- Ben Zobrist RF
- Evan Longoria 3B
- James Loney 1B
- Yunel Escobar SS
- Luke Scott DH
- Jose Molina C
- Ryan Roberts 2B
- Alex Cobb P
- Alex Gordon LF
- Alcides Escobar SS
- Billy Butler DH
- Eric Hosmer 1B
- Lorenzo Cain CF
- Mike Moustakas 3B
- Jeff Francoeur RF
- Salvaador Perez C
- Elliot Johnson 2B
- James Shields P
Due to Cobb and Shields both being amazing pitchers, the game was expected to be a low-scoring game. To the surprise of many, the Rays quickly took the lead in the 1st inning. Lead-off hitter Desmond Jennings singled and then Matt Joyce hit a 2-run homerun, making it 2-0. Ben Zobrist flied out, Evan Longoria walked, and James Loney doubled to make it two-on, one-out, but Yunel Escobar and Luke Scott both struck out to end the inning. In the bottom of the 1st, Alex Cobb allowed only one hit to Billy Butler.
The Royals had a small threat in the bottom of the 2nd when there were two men on with two outs, but Cobb was able to get Elliot Johnson to fly out to left field. The Royals almost scored a run in the 5th inning when Johnson singled with two outs. Johnson stole 2nd then moved to 3rd on a wild pitch by Cobb. Luckily, Cobb struck out Alex Gordon.
In the 6th, Cobb was able to get Alcides Escobar and Billy Butler to ground out, but he allowed Eric Hosmer to double, Lorenzo Cain to single, and Mike Moustakas to homer, making it 3-2 in favor of the Royals. The Royals weren’t done – Jeff Francoeur doubled and Salvador Perez singled, making it 4-2. After allowing six straight hits with 2 outs, Cobb was replaced by Jamey Wright who was able to get Gordon to ground out. The Royals continued to score runs in the 7th inning while the Rays (pitching, defense, offense) all fell apart. With Brandon Gomes pitching in the 7th, Alcides Escobar singled and stole a base. Gomes struck out Butler and intentionally walked Eric Hosmer and then the Rays’ defense fell apart. Lorenzo Cain singled to center field – though three players were capable of catching the ball, none of them did. When Jeff Francoeur was batting, Cain stole 2nd base and Hosmer scored by a throwing error by catcher Jose Molina. Jeff Francoeur triples, making it 7-2.
In the top of the 8th, James Shields is replaced by Kelvin Herrera. Matt Joyce is the only player to make it to 1st – the Rays’ poor offense once again makes its appearance. When the Royals were batting, Cesar Ramos became the new pitcher and walked Elliot Johnson. Johnson ends up scoring a run after a single and two sac-flies. In the 9th, Loney leads off with a single and makes to third when Escobar singles and gets thrown out at second. With Loney on third with one out, Scott flies out to center and Molina strikes out – Rays lose 8-2. What was supposed to be an exciting pitching match between Alex Cobb and James Shields ended up being an embarrassing Rays’ loss.
- Alex Cobb entered the game with 10 wins since August 1, 2012 – tied for the most in MLB in that span.
- With Matt Joye’s home run today, that is a team-record tying 15 straight games with a homer for the Rays (record was set in 2009).
- Since Matt Joyce’s hit lead-off on Friday, he’s homered three times in four games, and has six RBI over that stretch
- James Shields’ wife and parents came to the game today – they must be in a good mood.
- With Luke Scott being called up, Shelley Duncan was sent down to the minors.
- 9 out of 14 games the Rays have lost after having the lead.
Around the League:
- On Monday, the New York Yankees lost to the Houston Astros for the first time since 2003. Former Ray Carlos Pena had 1 RBI and 1 Run in that game for the Astros.
- Kevin Youkilis is back on the DL for his sore back.
- Another slow start for the Los Angeles Angels may mean coach Michael Scioscia may be out of a job.
The Rays have played four games (including a split squad on opening day) and already they have beaten their arch nemesis, the Boston Red Sox, twice. Unlike previous spring training games so far, the Rays lineup is similar to an actual lineup during baseball season, one in which Evan Longoria is hurt…
- Ben Zobrist (RF)
- Desmond Jennings (CF)
- Matt Joyce (Left Field)
- Yunel Escobar (SS)
- Luke Scott (DH)
- Kelly Johnson (2B)
- Jose Molina (C)
- James Loney (1B)
- Ryan Roberts (3B)
- Alex Cobb (P)
Red Sox Lineup
- Jason Ellsbury (CF)
- Dustin Pedroia (2B)
- Shane Victorino (RF)
- Jonny Gomes (LF)
- Stephen Drew (SS)
- Ryan Sweeney (DH)
- Drew Sutton (3B)
- Mike Carp (1B)
- David Ross (C)
- Alfredo Aceves (P)
Today marked Alex Cobb’s spring training starter debut. Cobb was told last week that he is starting pitcher number four, which means he won’t be competing with four other pitchers for the limited starting positions. Cobb allowed four hits and two runs. “I was trying to throw a little too hard, keeping the ball up, rushing a little bit. When I did control myself, I had good results. Obviously the home run isn’t very good, and the RBI double isn’t very good. But I got a lot of ground balls, which is what I’m looking for, and it shows me I’m getting the angle I’m looking for” said Cobb. Another pitcher contending for a spot on the roster was Jamey Wright. The 38-year-old is looking for a spot in the Rays bullpen.
The Red Sox quickly took a lead in the 1st inning when Dustin Pedroia hit a homerun. The Rays answered back after Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce drew walks, followed by newcomer Yunel Escobar hitting a double to score two runs. The Red Sox tied the game up in the 2nd due to Mike Carp hitting a double, bringing Ryan Sweeney home. The Rays did most of their damage in the 4th thanks to Ryan Roberts hitting a double, driving Jose Molina and James Loney home. Ben Zobrist hit a single, causing Roberts to score and making the score 5-2. In the 7th, the Rays score their last run of the game after Cole Figueroa scores on Jose Lobaton’s groundout. The Red Sox manage a run in the 8th, but lose 6-3.
- Red Sox had a split squad today; the other half of the team beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2.
- David Price makes his pitching debut Tuesday February 26 against the Houston Astros.
- Evan Longoria will be making his debut Tuesday February 26 against the Houston Astros.
- In five years since becoming the Rays in 2008, Tampa Bay owns the third-best record in the Major Leagues behind the Yankees and Phillies. Also during this span, the Rays have won five major Baseball Writers’ Association of America awards, more than any other team. David Price (2012 AL Cy Young Award), Joe Maddon (’08, ’11 AL Manager of the Year Awards), Evan Longoria (’08 AL Rookie of the Year Award) and Jeremy Hellickson (’11 AL Rookie of the Year Award).
- Five Tampa Bay Players are competing in the World Baseball Classic: Alex Torres (Venezuela), Fernando Rodney (Dominican Republic), Cesar Ramos (Mexico), Jose Molina (Puerto Rico), and Ben Zobrist (United States).
- There is now a boar’s head mounted on Luke Scott’s locker. Scott is known as being a hunter, but he has now taken up spear hunting instead of shooting . Only in Florida…
- New Rays pitcher Juan Sandoval is making a name for himself in Tampa Bay after fans found out that he is blind in one eye. Sandoval is a 32 years-old, right-handed pitcher competing for a spot in the Rays’ organization. In 2006, a shooting incident between a security guard and a customer at a restaurant in the Dominican Republic resulted in Sandoval loosing his eyesight in one eye. When this shooting incident happened, Sandoval was in the Seattle Mariners organization. After bouncing from the Mariners to the Brewers and to the Phillies, Sandoval landed in the Mexico League. In 2011, he made 67 appearances in 103 games last year, had a 7-3 record and a 2.97 ERA. During winter 2012, he went to the Dominican Winter League where he met Rays relief pitcher Joel Peralta. Peralta recommended him to the Rays and now Sandoval is back in the United States. “I’ve worked hard but it’s not about the eye,” he says. “I don’t think about that. I have three kids now. I support my mom and dad. These are key things that are at the center of my life, the ones that make me work harder. These kids are maybe why I got better. I have to support them. Not because I want to prove to the world.”
- MLB has named “Astro bobblehead” as the best give away this year in baseball season. Astro is David Price’s dog.
- Joe Maddon says Alex Cobb will have a spot in the starting rotation, along with David Price, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson. That means only one spot is left in the starting rotation.
- Desmond Jennings is ready to become center-fielder. Though he knows that B.J. Upton has a better arm, he is ready to take over since center-field feels more natural to him.
- First game of Spring Training: Saturday 23, Split Squad against the Pirates at 1:05 pm.
After the recent bullpen troubles, the Tampa Bay Rays decided to call up pitcher Alex Cobb on April 14th, 2012. Cobb is a 24 year-old right-handed pitcher from Boston who was drafted in 2006 by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In 2010, he was named Most Valuable Player in Double-A Montgomery. In 2011, Cobb made his first major league appearance on May 1st, 2011, but earned a no-decision after allowing 5 runs. He was quickly sent back down, but was recalled up a few weeks later after the Rays sent starter Andy Sonnanstine to the bullpen. He pitched on May 30th and made 4 starts, before being sent down on June 18th. He was called up again on July 18th due to starters Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis spending time on the DL and because the Rays were using a 6-starter rotation. Cobb was with the Rays until he underwent a season ending surgery in August to remove a blood clot around one of his ribs. He was given an American bulldog named Axel after his surgery. With the Rays in 2011, his record was 3-2 and his ERA was 3.42.