It’s been a long, treacherous journey for Alex Cobb. The Tampa Bay Rays starter was hit in the head by a line drive off Eric Hosmer‘s bat on June 15, creating an uncertain future.
Now, let’s fast forward to Thursday night. Cobb went five innings, allowing just one run in what can only be described as a triumphant return considering everything he’s been through. The reward: a fifth-inning offensive outburst led by rookie Wil Myers and veteran Evan Longoria for a 7-1 win over the Seattle Mariners, running his win-loss record to 7-2.
Was Cobb perfect? No. Some of his pitches were a tad off, and the fifth inning probably had fans more than a little nervous. Did anyone expect him to be flawless just two months removed from an incredibly scary, potentially career-threatening injury though? I doubt it.
The fact he returned in time to impact the AL East pennant race is something the Rays welcome. Even more so given the fact All-Star pitcher Matt Moore felt a little discomfort in his sore elbow during Wednesday’s bullpen session. He won’t throw again until Sunday, thus delaying his return to the starting rotation.
Courtesy of Thursday night’s victory, the Rays sit only two games back of the first-place Boston Red Sox in the AL East — crazy when you think about the six-game losing skid that had some around the Tampa Bay area nearing panic mode three days ago.
Are the Rays legitimate AL East and World Series contenders? If everyone’s healthy and on top of things in terms of command, plus the offense continues producing the way they did Thursday night, there’s no reason to bet against them.