By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
FORT MYERS — Alex Cobb was pleased with his performance following Saturday’s start.
“The progress I made this week going into this start versus last start, I’d take hands down,” Cobb said. “I might’ve given up a couple of more hits and an extra run, but in years past whenever I felt good, I never understood when guys said ‘I don’t care about the results.’
“But it’s ringing true for me right now. I really don’t care too much about the results. I felt great, like I’m back to my old self. I would take that any day.”
Cobb was the first Rays’ pitcher to get into the fourth frame, tossing 3.1 innings, and allowing two runs on four hits and a pair of walks. He struck out one batter and totaled 63 pitches and 40 strikes.
His fastball sat around 90-91 mph, his changeup was usually around 84 mph, and the breaking ball was between 77 and 74.
“I think we were all very pleased,” manager Kevin Cash said. “I think that was a big step in the right direction for Alex and for us.”
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer was simply sensational in his World Baseball Classic start Friday night against Colombia.
In a tournament where starting pitchers are limited to 65 pitches, Archer quickly and efficiently retired each of the 12 batters he faced for a perfect four innings.
“It must’ve just been an incredible experience,” manager Kevin Cash said. “This event I think is great for baseball. … Obviously you’re going to pull for your guys and you want them to have success.”
In a TV interview during the game, Archer told MLB Network’s JP Morosi it was hard for him to tell USA manager Jim Leyland that he had to shut it down after four innings, following the request of the Rays to not exceed the fourth.
Archer needed just 41 pitches for his four innings, and struck out three batters.
USA went on to win 3-2, with a walk-off single for Baltimore Oriole Adam Jones in the 10th inning, scoring Miami Marlin Christian Yelich.
Archer’s USA team faced the Dominican Republic Saturday night, going up against teammates Alex Colome, and Tampa Bay newcomer Jumbo Diaz.
CASH ON JUMBO
Speaking of Diaz, the Rays acquired him during their game on Friday, which didn’t give reporters a chance to ask Cash about the move until Saturday.
“He’s a guy we’ve talked about over the last year or so,” Cash said. “He’s pitched well against us at times in the minor leagues. He has a big fastball and a big slider.”
It’s an interesting situation with Diaz because of the fact that he joins a new team while playing for the DR in the WBC. Cash says the team will have some scouts down in Miami to watch Diaz when he pitches.
RED SOX 2, RAYS 1
HITTER OF THE GAME
Mitch Moreland, Rays: He was the only player to have a multi-hit game. Moreland started his day with an RBI single and then added a double in his second at-bat.
PITCHER OF THE GAME
Chris Sale, Red Sox: The new Boston pitcher looked in mid-season form. He tossed four scoreless innings and held the Rays to just one hit. He struck out five batters on 56 pitches.
Top 8th: The Rays appeared to bat out of order in the eighth inning, but nobody noticed. There apparently was some confusion after the team made a bunch of substitutions in the seventh inning. They benefited from the blunder, as Alec Sole had a single to plate Braxton Lee from second base.
Jacob Faria, Rays: The team’s No. 9 prospect, according to MLB.com, looked strong in his outing. He allowed just one hit over 1.2 innings and struck out three.
THEY SAID IT
“I think Alex has earned the right to ask. As long as you do it the right way, the umpires generally handle it very well. He was asking on a couple of close pitches. Talking to Brian in between, myself, he said ‘Look, it’s spring training for me, too.’ That’s a very fair statement and fair thought.”
— Rays manager Kevin Cash on Alex Cobb’s extended chat with homeplate umpire Brian O’Nora after the third inning.
TORONTO(4-9-1) at TAMPA BAY (6-7-1)
WHEN: Today, 1:05 p.m.
WHERE: Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte
SCHEDULED STARTERS: RH Tommy Hunter vs. LH Ryan Borucki
RAYS: RH Tommy Hunter (start), RH Erasmo Ramirez, LH Xavier Cedeno, LH Dana Eveland, RH Danny Farquhar, RH David Carpenter, RH Ryan Garton, RH Andrew Kittredge
BLUE JAYS: LH Ryan Borucki (start), RH Dominic Leone, LH Brett Oberholtzer, RH Chris Smith, RH Jarrett Grube, LH Chad Girodo, RH Conner Greene, RH Leonel Campos
MONDAY: at Minnesota, 1:05 p.m. TUESDAY: (split squad) vs. New York (AL) / at Baltimore, 1:05 p.m. WEDNESDAY: vs. Boston, 1:05 p.m. THURSDAY: off day. FRIDAY: vs. Minnesota, 1:05 p.m.