On June 17th of this season Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb pitched his most brilliant game of the season and possibly of his career when he went seven innings allowing only two hits, one walk, and no runs while striking out 10. He received a Game Score of 82, the best of his career, eclipsing the 67 he posted last July.
Last night was a far different story when it comes to Game Score for Alex Cobb. He posted the worst Game Score in his brief career: a glorious 25. Cobb allowed eight runs, all earned, on 13 hits and one walk while only striking out a single batter and matching a career high pitch count of 113. But, despite the Game Score and all the hits allowed, Cobb’s performance was rare and one that helped the Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff immensely.
On June 19th the Rays started a nine game road trip in nine days that rolls directly into a seven game home stand in seven days and ends with four road games in Cleveland in four days. That meant the Rays would play 20 games in 20 days leading into the All-Star break, a rough patch for any team to go without an off day.
The Rays game in Philadelphia on June 22nd was rained out and forced a double-header Sunday the 24th, thus forcing manager Joe Maddon to deploy a game two starter of Cesar Ramos and have an entire game pitched by his bullpen. It worked and the Rays won but the bullpen was overworked and the Rays were without an off day until July 9th.
Alex Cobb may have allowed 13 hits and eight runs in a losing effort last night and it may have been his worst Game Score of his career but it was in a complete game effort that helped rest a tired Tampa Bay Rays bullpen. It was also just he first time that a pitcher pitched a complete game while allowing eight runs or more since Randy Johnson did it 1998 and the first time a pitcher had gone at least eight innings and allowed at least eight runs since Josh Beckett in 2009. It was only the eight complete game since 1980 where a pitcher allowed at least eight runs and Cobb joins an exclusive club that he likely never wanted to be a part of.
Cobb’s performance in last night’s game may have been the first complete game of his career but with a career worst Game Score I doubt it was one that you will see him bragging about any time soon. But, it was one that his manager and bullpen will be thanking him for until at least the All-Star break.
-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and the Florida Marlins at ESPN’s SweetSpot site Marlins Daily. You can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert. Be sure to follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt