Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending September 22nd. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network. Cobb went 2-0 in his two starts with a 1.65 ERA, 22 strikeouts and three walks in 16.1 innings pitched to claim his first career weekly honor, joining teammate Evan Longoria as Player of the Week winners from the A.L. Wild Card-leading Rays this season. Among Major League leaders for the period, Alex was first overall in innings pitched and was tied for first in wins and strikeouts. Opponents batted just .193 against the right-hander.
On Monday, the 25-year-old Cobb allowed two runs on six hits and struck out 10 over 8.0 innings as the Rays defeated fellow Wild Card contender Texas Rangers, 6-2, at Tropicana Field. Alex issued one free pass over 106 pitches (74 strikes) to help Tampa Bay ensure its sixth consecutive winning season. His 10 strikeouts marked his third career double-digit strikeout game and his first since punching out a career-best 13 hitters against the San Diego Padres on May 10th. In the Boston native's next start on Saturday, Cobb surrendered one run on five hits, walked two and struck out 12 in a season-high-tying 8.1 innings to guide the Rays to a 5-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles in St. Petersburg. The fourth-round pick in the 2006 Draft (by Tampa Bay) carried a shutout into the ninth frame before Baltimore's Adam Jones spoiled the bid with a one-out RBI-single. With the win, Cobb improved to 7-0 with a 2.81 ERA in 13 starts at the Trop this season. His last loss at home came against Boston on September 17, 2012, spanning 14 home starts. On the season, the three-year veteran has posted a 10-3 record with a 2.90 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 21 starts. Cobb missed two months of action after being struck in the face with a line drive in his June 15th start against the Kansas City Royals. Since returning to the mound on August 15th, Alex has gone 4-1 with a 2.73 ERA and 54 strikeouts over 52.2 innings. Over that span heading into play today, Alex is tied for third in strikeouts, fourth in innings pitched, tied for fourth in wins and is sixth in ERA. Other nominations from last week included Kansas City starting pitcher James Shields (1-0, 0.64 ERA, 14.0 IP, 12 SO); Houston Astros infielder-outfielder Chris Carter (.375, 5 extra-base hits, .792 SLG); Minnesota Twins infielder Brian Dozier (.400, 10 H, 2 SB); Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (.417, 4 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI); and New York Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova (1-0, shutout vs. San Francisco on September 21st).