Three takeaways from the Tampa Bay Rays' 4-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians in the American League wild-card game Wednesday night:
- Trust and feel: No, you can't measure it. But why did Rays manager Joe Maddon stick with right-hander Alex Cobb as he allowed nine base-runners in 6-2/3 innings and repeatedly pitched into trouble? Because Maddon liked what he saw .
The day before, Maddon had called Cobb one of the best pitchers in the league. On Wednesday night, in a winner-take-all game that seemingly demanded urgency, the manager backed up his words, showing patience with Cobb, who turns 26 on Monday.
Cobb admitted afterward that he did not have his best stuff. But Maddon clearly made the right call.
"He didn't pitch like a young pitcher," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We had our share of hits and we had our share of opportunities, and when we had men on base, he was able to -- it was like as the stadium got louder, he could take something off, spin a breaking ball, ...