Rays fans were excited yesterday to hear that talented hard-throwing prospect Alex Colome was going to make his MLB debut in Miami Thursday night. Colome, who was initially supposed to be called up as an additional arm in the bullpen, got the call for the Citrus Series finale due to an Alex Cobb fingernail issue.

Colome "exceeded expectations", in Joe Maddon's words, tossing 5.2 strong inning allowing just one unearned run. Although he was facing the Marlins in a pitchers park, a line of 5 hits, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts over 96 pitches (61 strikes) is impressive.

His fastball, which he through at an average of 95 MPH and reached 97 MPH, was plus as usual, but what really raised heads last night was his very good changeup (thrown 23 times).

Offensively, the Rays didn't have one of their better games as they stranded 17 runners on base. Their first run didn't come until the sixth inning, when Matt Joyce blasted a two-run home run to make it a 2-1 ballgame.

James Loney added some insurance in the seventh with a solo shot to right. Another unearned run surrendered by the Rays made it a tight 3-2 in the eighth.

In the ninth, however, Tampa Bay got that run back and more thanks to a two-run double off the bat of Ben Zobrist. Fernando Rodney managed to get three straight groundouts for a quick 1-2-3 ninth, notching his 11th save of the season.

The Rays improve to 29-24 with their fourth straight victory over Miami, and continue to rise in the AL East standings. After being swept in the Subway Series, the Yankees are now just a single game over the Rays and now two games behind the first-place Red Sox. The Orioles are currently a half game ahead of Tampa.

The Rays begin a three-game series in Cleveland tonight. Matt Moore (8-0, 2.21 ERA) will take the mound against right-hander Corey Kluber (3-3, 4.57 ERA).

Rays News and Notes:

  • Rotation shuffle: There's been a mix up in the starting rotation due to Alex Cobb's finger issue. Chris Archer will be called up Saturday for the start against the Indians, which will be his first appearances with the Rays this year. Jeremy Hellickson will start Sunday, and then Alex Cobb will start Tuesday in Detroit after the off-day Monday.
  • There are two very good PITCHf/x evaluations of Alex Colome's outing last night, one over at DRaysBay.com and another at The Process Report.
  • What's wrong with Jeremy Hellickson this season? I attempt to answer that question in my latest article at DRaysBay.