BOSTON -- Despite the Rays having a smaller bullpen now that the roster has been reduced for the postseason, Alex Cobb doesn't necessarily think the starters will have a longer leash.
"I still think [manager] Joe [Maddon is] going to go on matchups," Cobb said on Friday before Game 1 of the American League Division Series. "We're not going to have as long of a leash as we did maybe in June, July, August, where we get 110 to 120 sometimes. The reason being, we have a lot of off-days in these series. So I don't think it's as crucial to extend your starter as much as you need to in the past, during regular-season games.
"These are still must-win games. Joe's going to calculate every matchup to the best of his ability. So I don't think that short leash is out the window just because we don't have as big of a bullpen. We had an off-day yesterday, and we'll have another one coming up in a couple of days. I think that the bullpen will be well rested, and Joe will be able to go to them as much as he needs to. And we have some guys who can eat up some innings in the bullpen with [Chris Archer] and [Alex] Torres."
Because the mentality is all about winning, Cobb noted, it's a lot easier to check an ego at the door.
"We need to win," he said. "When you're being competitive on the mound, the last person you want to see is Joe coming out, just because you're in a fighting mode. You're going to fight until you can't lift your arm, you can't take it any longer. But when you settle down and know the situation that's going on, you understand it, and you appreciate it, because we're here to win. And pride goes out the window, and selfishness goes out the window.
"We're here to win. [The manager and coaches] are a lot smarter than any player out there. We do our jobs to the best of our ability, they're going to do their jobs to the best of their abilities, and you understand that at the end of the day."
Bill Chastain and Adam Berry are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.