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Cobb eager to take mound after strong start to season

The A's start a six-game road stretch with a three-game set against Tampa Bay on Friday, and it is hard to blame them for feeling confident.

The team with the best record in the American League has won three in a row, 12 of its last 14 games and was 6-0 on the first road stretch this season.

Two of their last four series have come against the Astros, making some wonder if the A's can keep up the momentum against different competition.

We will see.

After a day off for the A's on Thursday, Oakland left-hander Brett Anderson will take the hill against Alex Cobb and the Rays. Anderson allowed seven runs, including three home runs, in 5 2/3 innings and took the loss against Detroit in his last outing.

"I never really got into a rhythm," Anderson said. "Solo home runs don't usually beat you, and the three-run shot hurt. I made mistakes."

Overall, the A's have their share of success at Tropicana Field, going 6-3 there during the past two seasons. Just do not expect Cobb and the Rays to roll over. Cobb went 2-0 against the A's last season, allowing just one run in 16 innings.

Cobb was charged with three runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Red Sox in his last start to take his first loss of the season.

Rays manager Joe Maddon has been impressed with Cobb's ability to turn the page after tough starts.

"I think right now he's got a lot of confidence," Maddon said. "He's got a lot of weapons, too. I think part of him getting better is the understanding of how to use all of the different things that he has. And that's what we've been trying to really get across to him, that he has an understanding of all of that. He's just very competitive, and he's got this strong desire to do well."

Athletics: Moss out on leave
First baseman Brandon Moss missed Tuesday's and Wednesday's games while on the paternity list but should be back for Friday's game.

• Coco Crisp is hitting .383 during his current 11-game hitting streak. It is his longest hitting streak since joining the A's.

Rays: Team remains optimistic in defeat
Losing 10 of their first 15 games may not have been the way the Rays wanted to start the season, but they are still remaining optimistic after each loss.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said his team had been playing hard, the defense had been great and the pitching was good.

"You should be pretty good if your pitching's good and your defense is good; those are some things that don't drop off as much day to day," Kelly Johnson said. "Nothing new, just the game of baseball and how it goes."

Worth noting
• The A's have allowed three or fewer runs in 10 of 16 games this season.

• Evan Longoria has driven in 142 runs in his last 177 games.

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