What a whirlwind, nerve-wracking past couple of days it has been for Alex Colome. The Tampa Bay Rays prospect was initially summoned to help bolster a struggling and overworked bullpen, but with Alex Cobb sidelined by a cut to his finger, the righty found himself starting Thursday night’s series finale against the Miami Marlins.
Colome started out erratically, walking two of his first four batters in an opening frame that saw the Marlins load the bases but score only once on a passed ball by catcher Jose Molina. The hurler then settled in nicely, allowing no runs while pitching into the sixth inning in what turned out to be a 5-2 win.
His solid start almost went for naught though, as Marlins’ starter Ricky Nolasco had the Rays’ hitters off balance through four innings. It was almost like they had reverted back to their old ways of not giving their starter any run support.
Then, lo and behold, Nolasco walked Ben Zobrist early in the fifth and Matt Joyce‘s long ball gave the Rays a lead they never relinquished. That in itself is a feat, especially considering this team’s struggles with closing things out.
Going forward, the Rays still have question marks. Yes, their bats have finally come alive, a welcome sight for sure, but the relievers still can’t seem to easily close out games. It’s gotten to the point where fans pray the starters stay in, and even then, nothing’s guaranteed.
Although Thursday night’s game wasn’t perfect, it showcased the Rays’ ability to draft and groom guys to someday fill the starter role. Now, the only question is: Can this team click on all cylinders? If so, October baseball might be more than just a dream.