His name is Alex Colome. He's a man of mystery and intrigue to many baseball fans because nobody really knew who he was, until tonight.
Colome was a last minute replacement for Cy Young candidate Matt Moore who was moved down in Tampa's rotation after a small finger injury to Alex Cobb. Before making his big league debut tonight, Colome was heralded as Tampa Bay's seventh ranked prospect which might be a little bit on the conservative side when you take a glance at his production in Triple A and of course in tonight's game.
Things didn't start out so great for this rookie pitcher as Colome struggled to find the plate in the first inning issuing two walks and a Marcell Ozuna single which loaded the bases for Miami. A passed ball strikeout by Justin Ruggiano ended up being the only run that the Marlins scored in the 1st but Colome still appeared to be in for a rough night after having to unleash 27 pitches to get out of the inning.
Thanks in part to Miami's middling lineup, Colome definitely quieted down after the opening frame by only allowing four base runners in the next 4.2 innings he was on the mound. While the team struggled against his dominant performance, they still worked the count nicely against the rookie starter which forced him to leave in the middle of the 5th after throwing 96 pitches.
While Colome will be the story of the night, Ricky Nolasco continues his solid but yet frustrating 2013 campaign with yet another quality start. Nolasco definteily had a flawed outing when you look at te his three earned runs (home runs by James Loney and Matt Joyce) and four walks. This game continues the ongoing pattern of Nolasco not getting any semblance of run support by the Marlins offense. While the Marlins offense is on the verge of being historically awful, it's still angering when you look at fact that the offense averages only 2.08 runs per game when Nolasco is on the mound.
Despite their offensive struggles, the Marlins were always within striking distance of the Rays as they went into the final innings of the game. For example, Miami had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the 8th inning when they trailed 3-2. Pinch hitter Miguel Olivo just walked in a full count which brought up catcher Rob Brantly which felt a little awkward to me after my recent piece that I wrote about him on Wednesday. My mind wasn't on Brantly for long as he struck out swinging which brought a disappointing end to an otherwise solid inning.
The hopes for a Marlins victory quickly slipped away during the top of the 9th as reliever Mike Dunn gave up a two run double to Ben Zobrist which gave Tampa Bay a 5-2 lead. Miami was never able to come back from deficit as Rays closer Fernando Rodney pitched a perfect frame to give his team the victory.