After using 11 pitchers in 18 innings last night, the Rays needed a big outing from Alex Cobb this afternoon. He delivered, allowing just one run over 8 1/3 innings in a 5-1 victory over the Orioles.
Cobb was in control throughout, giving up just five hits and two walks while striking out 12 batters. He entered the ninth inning with a chance at a shutout, but David DeJesus misplayed a fly ball off the bat of Chris Davis and Adam Jones followed with an RBI single. Fernando Rodney secured the final two outs.
Cobb allowed two runs over eight innings and struck out 10 on Monday against the Rangers, so he’s stepping up at just the right time for the Rays. The 25-year-old right-hander now has a 2.90 ERA and 130/43 K/BB ratio over 136 1/3 innings this season.
Desmond Jennings drove in four out of the five runs for the Rays this afternoon, connecting for a three-run homer in the fifth inning and an RBI triple in the seventh. The 26-year-old only has a .246 batting average this season, but he has established new career-highs with 14 home runs and 54 RBI.
As for the Orioles, time is running out for them to make a run. Here’s our up-to-the-minute AL Wild Card standings:
Tampa Bay – 85-69
Cleveland – 84-70
Texas – 83-70 (.5 games back)
Kansas City – 81-72 (2.5 games back)
New York – 82-73 (2.5 games back)
Baltimore – 81-73 (3 games back)
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.
While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.
Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.
I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.
On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.