Results tagged ‘ Alex Cobb ’

Baltimore Orioles: Sometimes solo home runs do actually beat you

The Baltimore Orioles were once again the exception to the rule last night. The common saying is that solo home runs don’t beat you. In general, I’m going to believe that 100%. However Minnesota smacked five solo homers last night, four of which came off of starter Alex Cobb. Cobb’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R (4 earned), 1 BB, 2 K.

Minnesota hammered Oriole pitching last weekend at Camden Yards. Part of that was a start by Cobb, but they smacked around pretty much all Oriole pitchers that they saw. And the home runs went a long way. We also saw that continue last night – lots of homers, and they went a long way. How is that explained?

I’m not sure it can be, other than saying just that Minnesota’s really kicked in on the Orioles. Heck, they’re so locked in it seems that everyone’s hitting home runs. They aren’t bothering with singles or doubles, meaning that all the homers are coming with nobody on base. Which turns that long-standing rule (solo homers don’t beat you) on it’s side.

Cruz, Rosario, and Cron homered back-to-back-to-back in the first inning. That in essence put the Orioles on notice that this game was in essence going to be a continuation of last weekend’s series. And Minnesota was off to the races.

Cobb settled down in the second, however Minnesota struck again in the third with a solo homer by Kepler. One inning later (after Cobb had exited the game) Cruz smacked a second homer. Go figure, also a solo shot. They would put up a fifth run off of a Rickard error later in the inning. The only run they scored on the night which wasn’t a solo homer.

Dwight Smith Jr. would get the Birds on the board with an RBI-single in the sixth. But it would only be a token run, as Minnesota wasn’t relenting. Part of the issue offensively is that the O’s were 1-for-9 with RISP. That was also a big issue last weekend, as the Orioles left a small army on base.

Ironically, Minnesota’s numbers with RISP were worse – 0-for-6. But when you’re hitting all of those solo homers, you don’t have to have to worry about hitting with runners in scoring position. And again as I said, Minnesota managed to find the exception to a long-standing rule.

The series continues this afternoon at Target Field. Dan Straily gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Jose Berrios. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: How healthy is Alex Cobb?

The Baltimore Orioles will start Alex Cobb in tonight’s series opener in Minnesota. Cobb you might remember came off the Injured List last weekend just in time to get run out of the ballpark by the same Minnesota team he’s facing tonight. So the question is how healthy is Cobb?

Perhaps the bigger question should be how much rehabbing has he done, and how effectively at that? When Cobb came off the IL (due to a lumbar strain) he didn’t spend any time in the minors on a rehab assignment. He said he felt good, but his rehab was pitching simulated games. Again, this as opposed to a rehab assignment.

Just as spring training games are important to get guys ready for the season, I really feel that rehab assignments are important for injured players. Even if the player’s been out of commission for a short period, it still helps you to get your timing back a bit, and to see live game action. Simulated games are fine, but they aren’t live bullets. There’s a big difference.

Cobb could have taken that type of beating in a minor league game, and then perhaps been ready to come back to the Orioles when he was right. At the end of the day, they opted to do a simulated game – certainly their choice. But the question is whether or not that was the right choice. Tough to say.

The series in Minnesota begins tonight at Target Field. The aforementioned Alex Cobb will get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Martin Perez. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

On a personal note, you can still follow the Birds here on http://www.birdlandcrush.com, and via my Twitter feed. However you might notice some oddities regarding the timing of the columns and in-game tweets. Unfortunately for you, the Orioles aren’t my first priority this weekend – I’ll be attending my sister’s wedding over the weekend. So again, you can expect game recaps as normal, just well after the games have ended. Sorry folks, this is kind of a big deal!

Baltimore Orioles fall, potentially lose Alex Cobb

Just today I was telling someone that there’s one small silver lining to the Baltimore Orioles Opening the season with two of their first three series’ being against New York. And that’s the fact that New York has a plethora of injuries right now. If you’re going to play six games in a week against them, you might as well do so when they aren’t at full strength.

Then Opening Day starter Alex Cobb took the mound this evening in his final spring start of the year, vs. Minnesota. Cobb pitched one inning, and showed no sign of discomfort. However when the last of the second came around, Cobb was out of the game. The Orioles later announced that he had groin tightness, and after the game they said it was a mild groin strain. They felt they got him out in time, but that remains to be seen.

No folks, my commentary about New York’s injury issues didn’t cause this. Just a coincidence. As of when this is being written, Cobb is still slated to start on Opening Day. It’s unclear if that’ll end up being the case. It just matters how Cobb feels going through this week. Cobb’s line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.

This meant that the Orioles’ bullpen was called into early action – not something that happens often in spring games. Jimmy Yacabonis gave up a two-run homer to Castro, Cruz added an RBI-double, as sos Rosario (in the third). The Orioles trailed 4-0.

But the Orioles did make a small run. Dwight Smith Jr. smacked a solo homer in the last of the third. Later in the inning Chris Davis smacked a moonshot solo homer, and the O’s had cut the lead in half at 4-2.

However Minnesota put up another four runs in the fourth. A softly-hit bloop RBI-single, and a three-run homer; the Birds trailed 8-2. However Smith came back up in the last of the fourth and reached on a Schoop error, scoring a run. However two innings later in the last of the sixth Eduardo Nunez‘s solo homer cut the Minnesota lead to 8-4.

Dwight Smith has a great game, smacking a two-RBI double later in that sixth inning. One inning later Rio Ruiz‘s solo homer brought the O’s to within 8-7. And that ended up being your ballgame. But the Birds have bigger issues now than dropping this game.

As this column is being written, Alex Cobb is still the Opening Day starter on Thursday. Will that change? If so, who now gets the ball?

The Orioles really find themselves in an unfortunate position in that regard. It would seem to me that the next man up would in theory be Andrew Cashner – who’s also scheduled to start tomorrow afternoon’s game. If Cashner were to now start tomorrow, he’d find himself pitching on short rest on Thursday (if in fact he was the new Opening Day starter).

So I’m short, Cobb couldn’t have possibly injured himself at a worse time. To make matters worse, Austin Wynns injured himself a n a minor league game today. The injury occurred as he slid into a base, and he’ll have an MRI on his wrist tomorrow. Not good news for the O’s.

Tomorrow the Orioles’ “A team” will remain in Sarasota to take on Pittsburgh (while the “B team” heads to Clearwater to take on Philadelphia). Again as this is being written the aforementioned Andrew Cashner is slated as the Orioles’ starter, and he’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Trevor Williams game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Six unanswered runs defeats Toronto late

Perhaps the biggest news coming out of Sarasota today is that the Baltimore Orioles have tabbed Alex Cobb to start on Opening Day. It’s obviously an honor, and making the announcement now gives Cobb a chance to prepare himself. It also gives the O’s a chance to line up the rest of the rotation. Manager Brandon Hyde on the choice of Alex Cobb (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

Opening day is one of 162, but it’s a special day. A very special day. And I’ve respected Alex for a long time. We all respect him very much, what he’s done in his career. We feel like he’s earned it. His track record speaks for itself. So we’re just excited about naming him opening day starter.

Andrew Cashner got the start in this afternoon’s game in Sarasota against Toronto. Cashner’s line: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K. Cashner gave up a two-RBI double in the second inning to Sogard, which gave Toronto a 2-0 lead. Later in the inning Urena would add an RBI-single, as would McKinney in the top of the fifth. Through four-and-a-half, the O’s trailed 4-0.

However Drew Jackson‘s RBI-single in the fifth cut the lead to 4-1. Joey Richard‘s RBI-single in the last of the sixth brought the O’s to within 4-3. Last night in Tampa of course we saw New York come back on the Orioles late in the game. In the eighth inning to be exact. Is it possible that sort of thing could have been contagious?

The Birds loaded the bases right off the bat in the last of the eighth, bringing Christopher Bostick to the plate. Bostick would draw a walk, tying the game at four. That brought J.C. Escarra to the plate, with the bases still loaded and nobody out. While Escarra was robbed of what would have indubitably been a bases-clearing double, he ended up with a sac fly-RBI, which gave the Orioles the lead at 5-4. Stevie Wilkerson rounded out the scoring with an RBI-single, giving the O’s a 6-4 victory over Toronto.

Things started out somewhat rough for the Birds, however the fact is that they scored six unanswered runs to win this game. And that also means that guys are battling to the last pitch – whether it’s for a job or to win the game. Guys aren’t giving away at-bats, no matter what the odds are of a comeback or a victory. And that’s part of why this has been such a great camp for Brandon Hyde’s Baltimore Orioles.

Mark Trumbo also made his spring debut today following surgery on his knee. He went 0-for-two on the day, but the big news was that he got into a game. The hope is that he’s ready for Opening Day – which is two weeks from tomorrow.

em having lost three straight games. And even if this were the regular season, tomorrow is the next opportunity to break that streak and win a game.

The Orioles will remain in Sarasota tomorrow as Minnesota comes into Ed Smith Stadium. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Chase De Jong. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Alex Cobb better in Birds loss

Alex Cobb got the start this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota against Pittsburgh. Cobb himself showed marked improvement from his last outing, although the O’s fell to Pittsburgh. Cobb’s line: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K.

The lone run Cobb surrendered was on an RBI-double by Frazier in the third inning. Again, this was a much better outing than what he turned in last time out. That should give Orioles fans hope.

Stevie Wilkerson‘s sac fly-RBI in the last of the fourth tied the game at one. Later in the inning Jace Peterson‘s RBI-single gave the O’s the lead at 2-1. However Pittsburgh turned in a big inning in the fifth, and when the smoke cleared they held a 6-2 lead.

In effect, Pittsburgh kept the pressure on the Orioles, which is why they won this afternoon.’a game at Ed Smith Stadium. Most of that cake well after the starters had exited the game. But the Orioles are going to need to stay out of the big inning this year if they’re going to compete.

Alex Cobb said after coming out that he felt better on the mound, which was obvious by the results (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

First time out there it’s really difficult to prepare for. You throw as many bullpens and sim games and whatever, but once you get on the mound the game speeds up on you. I feel like I’m old enough now to where it shouldn’t be speeding up on me, but it did a little bit in that first game. You tend to leave some balls up and over the plate and they get hit.

The Orioles has to scratch Chris Davis from the lineup today, as he apparently strained a hip flexor on Sunday against Detroit. It doesn’t appear to be a serious injury7, but just precautionary to keep him out of the lineup. He could be available for tomorrow’s trip to Port Charlotte to take on the Tampa Rays.

The Orioles will in fact head to Port Charlotte tomorrow to take on Tampa. John Means gets the start for the Birds, and at this moment Tampa is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Alex Cobb smacked around in loss to Tampa

Alex Cobb made his maiden start this spring for the Baltimore Orioles, and without much success. Cobb’s line: .02 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 0 K. Cobb was lifted after only two outs presumably because the coaching staff didn’t want to have him flailing in the wind out there. He finished his work in the bullpen.

Cobb started putting runners on base almost immediately, and gave up an RBI-single to Choi in the first inning. Kiermaier would also plate a run on a fielder’s choice-RBI, which was followed by Heredia’s two-run homer. That chased Cobb from the game, with the Orioles trailing 4-0.

It’s exactly what we saw in this game which is why I personally believe that the O’s will be slightly better out of the gate this year as opposed to last year. Cobb and Andrew Cashner (who we should see this weekend) didn’t sign until late in camp last year. Between the two of them, they had one spring start.

And both pitchers had a poor April. Mainly because they hadn’t had their reps in the spring. This year both will get those reps. Cobb will be able to work out his kinks in Sarasota this year, as opposed to doing so when the games really matter. Cobb on his outing this afternoon:


I felt like some of those balls were over the plate, the first batter,” he said. “They got a little jam job into right field and before I know it I’ve got runners on first and second and got a couple ground balls that I was trying to get and they found holes, and obviously the two-run home run was a big blow.


Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

The Orioles did battle back into the game a bit. In the second Chance Sisco smacked a solo home run, adding to his valiant effort this spring. Eric Young Jr. also smacked an RBI-single. This cut the lead to 4-2. However Heredia would tack on an RBI-single, and Meadows a solo home run , both in the third, running the score to 6-2.

Richie Martin would smack an RBI-double in the last of the fifth, and he would later score on a wild pitch, which cut the Tampa lead to 6-4. Jomar Reyes would walk with the bases loaded in the last of the sixth to pull the Birds to within 6-5. However Tampa would get a two-RBI-double by Velasquez in the eighth, extending the score to 8-5. The final would be 10-5, after Bemboom’s two-run homer in the ninth. In typical Tampa fashion, these guys just don’t quit.

The O’s tagged a few balls deep in the last of the seventh, however they either faded foul or were knocked down by the wind. Sometimes the spring training wind helps you, and sometimes it hurts. Ultimately, the Orioles are still 0-0 for 2019 regardless of whether they win or lose these games.

The Orioles’ “B squad” will head to George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa this evening to take on the New York Yankees. John Means gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s James Paxton. Game time is set for just after 6:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: What’s a reasonable win total in 2019? (updated)

The Baltimore Orioles had an historically bad record in 2018 – this much we know. The good news for whomever the next manager is will be that there’s nowhere to go but up. In theory. But when we look to next season, what’s a reasonable number of wins that we can or should expect from the 2019 Orioles.

First off it’s tough to predict that in November. Nobody can possibly know the answer to that before the roster is construed. However there a few tangible things that we can deduce. This season the Orioles had Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner, neither of whom had much in the way of spring outings. Cashner signed a bit earlier than Cobb, so he actually got a spring start. Cobb didn’t, and went to extended spring training until mid-April before joining the Orioles.

Both of these pitchers struggled out of the gate in 2018. As time went on they corrected themselves, but of course they eventually produced quality starts that were losses because the bats couldn’t get untracked. But as time went on they slowly corrected themselves.

So I would submit that spring games and workouts are of supreme importance to pitchers (or to anyone). Thus regardless of the the makeup of the team, who the manager is, etc, those two will have a full slate of spring games and workouts next year. I suspect that’ll make for a smoother transition into the season, and hopefully a few more wins early.

The O’s also had some major injuries last year, such as Jonathan Schoop, Mark Trumbo, and Darren O’Day going down early. And if that wasn’t enough, one of O’Day’s replacements, Richard Bleier, was also done for the season early with an injury.

Trumbo and Bleier are obviously the only ones still on the team. But you have to assume that the injury bug perhaps won’t bite the Birds again in 2019. Furthermore does the law of averages not suggest that Chris Davis SHOULD be at least marginally better next year?!

Do all of these factors add up to a lot more wins? Probably not. But I do believe that when all’s said and done the 2019 Orioles will have more wins than the 2018 version did. But we can’t say for sure.

UPDATE (7:20 AM): USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported overnight that the Orioles are expected to hire Houston Asst. GM Mike Elias as their new General Manager. No word on a timeline, but that’s the word on the street. More as it comes!

Baltimore Orioles: 2019 should be better by default

One of the big storylines coming out of camp in 2018 for the Baltimore Orioles was the fact that they signed Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner. Analysts around baseball all agreed that those were great moves by the Orioles. The numbers of course say otherwise.

Cobb was 5-15 on the season with a 4.90 ERA. Cashner was 4-15 with an ERA of 5.29. Both pitchers signed at the tail end of spring training, with Cashner actually having a start. But neither had a traditional spring.

Those two signings kind of backfired on the O’s. Now while both pitchers were victim of numerous quality starts with no offensive output, the fact is that both pitchers struggled throughout the first half. And they struggled mightily.

So it stands to reason that seeing as both will have their full compliment of spring starts and workouts next year, 2019 should be better. Does that mean that they’ll win all of their starts? Probably not, because they’re going to have a young team next year. But if you can pencil in perhaps one additional win per week or so, the 2019 season might look at least a little brighter from the outset. Brighter than 2018 at least.

Baltimore Orioles: Is Alex Cobb’s season done?

Alex Cobb left this evening’s Baltimore Orioles’ game early – after two innings to be exact. Cobb’s line: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K. That’s a decent stat line, if this is spring training. However Cobb had to leave the game due to a recurring blister on his throwing hand.

Cobb was in obvious discomfort even while warming up in the bullpen before the game with Oakland this evening. Television camera’s caught him in a rarely honest moment for a pitcher when he realized he wouldn’t be able to go on in the game. He certainly wasn’t happy as he went down the tunnel to the clubhouse. And in reality, you can’t really blame him.

Cobb of course didn’t have nary any spring training or this year, as he signed very late in camp. He started the season in disappointing fashion, but eventually his numbers improved. Notice I said his numbers improved – not necessarily his record. While he churned out quality starts for much of the summer, the Orioles’ offense couldn’t put runs up for him.

And unfortunately for the O’s, they were playing a team in Oakland tonight who’s very much positioning for a playoff spot. These guys had something to play for. The Orioles in truth did not.

Oakland took a 1-0 lead on Chapman’s RBI-double in the third. They would net two more runs in that third inning on long reliever Mike Wright, both on RBI-singles. The Orioles would continue to allow base runners, and Oakland would get them in.

The Orioles did try to come back, and it was on the bat of Jonathan Villar. He smacked a solo homer in the sixth, and an RBI-single in the eighth. But that’s all that the Orioles could salvage on this night, and they fell to Oakland 3-2.

From my standpoint it would stand to reason that the Orioles just shut Alex Cobb down for the season. Depending on the severity of the blister (which still remains to be seen), he might have what? Perhaps one start left in him? Is it really worth the Orioles risking further injury to Cobb?

By further injury, I don’t mean aggravating the blister. I mean anything else that could happen; a knee injury, a torn achilles, being hit by a comebacker, etc. The O’s would do the player and themselves a favor by just shutting Cobb down for the remainder of the season.

One way or the other, the Oakland series continues tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Orioles, and at this point Oakland has not named a starter. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Alex Cobb’s quality start doesn’t do the job

To his credit, Alex Cobb never complains about run support from Baltimore Orioles’ bats. His post game comments after yet another quality start that ends up in the loss or no decision column are always about how he tries to go out and do the best job he can for the team and try to put them in a spot to win. But at some point it has to be frustrating internally; Cobb had another such outing yesterday, as he provided a solid outing in a losing effort to Boston. Cobb’s line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R (1 earned), 2 BB, 7 K.

The Orioles were in a hole early when Pearce smacked a solo homer in the first inning to give Boston a 1-0 lead. In the fourth they took a 2-0 lead on Martinez’s run-scoring double. The run scored when Adam Jones misplayed the ball in right field, allowing the lead runner to take home plate. It was Jones’ first gaffe in right, which is to be expected at some point. When you’ve played a position for ten years and suddenly you’re in another position, that’s going to happen at some point.

The Orioles couldn’t solve Boston’s starter Sale, who put a spell on them all day. Sale was called up from the DL to make the start, so Boston limited him to five innings. Granted the Orioles are a young team now with youth and inexperience, however they struck out twelve times in five innings against Sale.

The O’s did attempt to mount a rally well after Sale was gone, and they put a run across in the eighth on Trey Mancini‘s sac fly-RBI. The issue was that the bases were loaded, and the Birds only got one run. Many people would look at that and say that it’s good the Orioles are trying to play more small ball. However as I’ve always said, if you play small ball you’re going to get small results. In essence, if you play for one run that might be all you’ll get.

And true to form, Boston would put two additional insurance runs on the board in the ninth as they closed out a 4-1 victory – sweeping the series. It begins and ends with starting pitching, and both teams got great outings by their starters. I’m not going to say that Boston truly “solved” Cobb, but they put two runs up on him. The story of the game was that the Orioles couldn’t do anything against Sale. Buck Showalter on both starters (all quotes courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):

Outstanding. He (Cobb) was great. He’s been that way for a while now. He’s been solid. When you think about in time of need, with our bullpen situation, that was as good as you can expect. Alex has really got a feel for the split now. To pitch seven innings against that lineup in a day game, that’s impressive. We just couldn’t score any runs. Sale took it to a different level. The first fastball he threw today was 98, the second one was 99. He was throwing a changeup at 88, 90. Doesn’t seem fair.

While he’s been used in a pinch-hitting role this weekend, Mark Trumbo has been held out of the starting lineup due to soreness in his knee. Buck Showalter believes he’ll be able to return to his starting duties on Tuesday when the N.Y. Mets come to town:

I think, that’s all indications. Mark has been fighting his way through it for quite a while. Just going to try to get ahead of it with lack of activity the past few days. Hopefully we can get him back to close to normal. Nobody’s going to be normal til a month after the season’s over.

After dropping four straight games to Boston, today’s a good time for an off-day. Especially with so many young players on the roster now – it gives them a good chance to catch their breath.

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