Rays turn to Alex Cobb, not Wade Davis, as Jeff Niemann’s rotation replacement

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Jeff Niemann is out 4-6 weeks with a fractured right leg, but rather than shift Wade Davis back to the rotation the Rays are turning to Alex Cobb as the fill-in.

No official announcement has been made yet, but Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Cobb will pitch in Niemann’s place tomorrow versus the Braves. And according to Topkin the other candidate considered for the job was not Davis, but rather Chris Archer.

In other words, the Rays really want to keep Davis in the bullpen, where the career-long starter currently has a 1.86 ERA and 18/7 K/BB ratio in 19 innings.

Cobb made nine starts for the Rays as a rookie last season and the 24-year-old right-hander pitched well with a 3.42 ERA and 37/21 K/BB ratio in 53 innings, but then missed the final two months following surgery to remove a blockage near his rib cage and began this year in the minors.

Joe Maddon: “I have a defensive foot fetish.”

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The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.

Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.

Well then.

The Nationals have scored 62 runs during four Joe Ross starts

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If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.

Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.

Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.

Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.