Rays strike out 21 batters, lose in 15 innings anyway

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The Rays had MLB’s highest strikeout game in five years Monday, fanning 21 A’s in 15 innings, only to lose 4-3 on a Jemile Weeks sacrifice fly.

The 21 strikeouts were a franchise record for Tampa Bay, as well as a franchise record for A’s hitters. It was the first team a team has struck out 21 batters in a game since the A’s fanned that many Rangers in a 13-inning game on Aug. 6, 2007.

Of course, the record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game is 20, established by Boston’s Roger Clemens in 1986 and later matched by Clemens in 1996 and the Cubs’ Kerry Wood in 1998. Randy Johnson also struck out 20 batters in 2001, but that game went into extra innings.

The record for strikeouts in an extra-inning game is 26, established by the A’s in a 20-inning game against the Angels on July 9, 1971. They won that game 1-0. The record was later matched by the Angels in a 17-inning loss to the Brewers in 2004.

Leading the way for the Rays tonight was David Price, who fanned 11 in seven innings. It was his third double-digit strikeout game of the year. The bullpen racked up 10 more K’s from there, with Wade Davis striking out the side in his inning of work.

Josh Reddick and Brandon Inge fanned four times apiece for the A’s. Weeks was 0-for-7 with two strikeouts before ending the game with a sac fly in the bottom of the 15th.

Report: Orioles interested in Alex Cobb

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MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.

Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.

It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.