Results tagged ‘ Alex Cobb ’

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.

Baltimore Orioles’ Alex Cobb dominates but Tampa bests Birds in the end

Everything was lined up for Alex Cobb to get the win for the Baltimore Orioles in his return to Tampa. Cobb of course pitched six solid years with the Tampa Rays, and this was his first start in gray at Tropicana Field. To top it off, Cobb even went seven innings as opposed to the six for which we could pencil him in to this point. Cobb’s line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Cobb’s lone run surrendered was an RBI-single to Bauer in the first inning. But after that he began mowing down Tampa hitters. Regardless of what he threw up, Tampa was fooled.

The O’s tied the game at one in the fourth with a solo homer by another former Tampa Ray, Tim Beckham. One inning later they had the lead at 2-1 off of a solo homer by Trey Mancini – a Florida native. And an inning after that, Mark Trumbo smacked an RBI-single, giving the O’s a 3-1 lead.

But the real story of this game was Alex Cobb. There was nothing that Tampa could do to solve him. And it appeared that the Birds were finally getting a strong pitching outing and enough run support to win. Heck, they even got an infield RBI-single from Adam Jones in the eighth…

…that is, until it wasn’t an infield RBI-single. Tampa challenged the play, saying that the runner was actually out at home plate. Replays seemed to back up their point, and the umpires agreed. What would have been a 4-1 lead remained 3-1.

Tampa doesn’t do things in a grandiose manner. Whereas the other teams in the division look for the big inning, Tampa patches a run here and there together by doing small things, until you realize that those small things end up equating big things. That reversed run was a small thing – at the time. But it became a big deal.

Cobb and Andrew Cashner seem to be penciled in at six solid innings. However on this night Cobb went seven, in an attempt to help the bullpen. But it turned out that he should have gone eight – or nine.

Cobb was replaced in the eighth inning by Evan Phillips, who of course came to the Orioles only recently in the trade with Atlanta. He managed to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. While he allowed runners on and allowed runners to put the ball in play, the situation wasn’t helped by a potential ground ball double-play that was botched on a foul throw by Chris Davis. That would have recorded two outs and left the bases empty. But it wasn’t to be.

Phillips would uncork a wild pitch to cut the Orioles’ lead to 3-2. Tampa would later tie the score at three as Gomez grounded into a run-scoring double-play to tie the game at three. Tampa would make the comeback complete by Adames’ walk off home run in the last of the ninth.

Cobb deserved better in his return to Tropicana Field, and he definitely earned better. But this is what’s going to happen with a rebuilding team – and a bullpen that’s being rebuilt. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but games like these have to happen in order for things to get better.

The series continues tomorrow at Tropicana Field. The aforementioned Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Orioles, and in their typical atypical and wiry fashion Tampa has not yet named a starter. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Alex Cobb looks for a win in his old digs

Alex Cobb will start for the Baltimore Orioles tonight in Tampa, looking for his fourth victory on the season. This is somewhat noteworthy given the fact that Cobb spent six seasons as a starter in Tampa. This will be his first game pitching as a visitor at Tampa’s Tropicana Field.

It’s always interesting to see how players across sports react in situations like these. Cobb is far from a former superstar returning to his old digs per se, but he had some great years with Tampa. But needless to say, this isn’t Peyton Manning playing in Indianapolis as a visitor, or Brett Favre in Green Bay.

However I suspect that it’ll feel strange for Cobb. The mound and the view from it around the park will appear very familiar to him. Yet when he looks down he’ll see himself in road gray as opposed to home whites. And the usually sparse crowd in Tampa will be rooting against him, not for him.

However once players go between the lines, it’s game on. It’s just baseball – one way or the other. And the Orioles are certainly hoping to ride to victory behind Cobb, who as I said will be on a familiar mound.

This is game one of three in Tampa at Tropicana Field. As I said, Alex Cobb gets the start for the Orioles; he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Tyler Glasnow. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles, Alex Cobb hand New York a bad loss

Back during the Baltimore Orioles’ years in contention, they occasionally took a bad loss here and there. It happens. And today the Birds and starter Alex Cobb dished out a bad loss to the very much in contention New York Yankees. Cobb’s line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K.

Cobb was masterful on the mound at “the stadium” this afternoon, doing everything in his power to limit the damage – and doing so successfully, I might add. Over the course of this season we’ve seen plenty of games where the Orioles would load the bases and only net themselves one run. This afternoon, they forced New York to accept that type of fate. And it’s a good thing they did, because they needed every run they got today.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Trey Mancini smacked an RBI-single to left. Renato Nunez followed later in the inning with a two-RBI double, and the Birds were in business. Tim Beckham finished things off in the inning with a two-RBI double of his own. New York would chisel away in the last of the second with a solo homer off the bat of Torres, and we stood at 5-1 after two innings.

Mancini would smack a solo homer in the third, and Breyvic Valera‘s RBI-single later in the inning put the O’s ahead 7-1. And after the conclusion of the third inning, the skies opened and we had a rain delay. A short one albeit, but a rain delay none the less. However the good news for the Orioles is that Alex Cobb was just as good after the delay as he was before. That’s not always the case with pitchers, which is why many managers change pitchers coming out of a delay.

The game remained at 7-1 until the last of the eighth when Andujar smacked an RBI-single to cut the Birds’ lead to 7-2. The O’s did get a scare in this game, however. With two outs in the last of the ninth Torres hit another home run – this one of the three-run variety. New York wasn’t about to be allowed to come back from six runs down in the ninth inning were they? And the answer is no; the O’s recorded the final out, and took home a 7-5 lead.

New York and Boston are battling it out for first place in the AL East. The Orioles are who they are, and we know they’re rebuilding. This is a game in which New York should have walloped the Orioles. Now they head to Boston for a four-game set this weekend, which could very well be a big factor in the final standings. That’s why this is a bad loss for them.

The Orioles now head to Texas for a four-game series in Texas starting tomorrow. Andrew Cashner gets the call for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Yovani Gallardo (himself a former Oriole). Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Mistakes lead to another loss

The Baltimore Orioles gave starter Alex Cobb the lead before he even stepped on the field. However even before that, the Birds made a mistake that potentially kept them out of a big inning. They got back into last night’s game with a big inning, and they looked poised to keep the pressure on right away. And that surely would have helped Cobb out a bit. Cobb’s line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R (1 earned), 3 BB, 4 K.

With a runner already on, Jonathan Schoop stroked a ball to left field which allowed the runner to go to third. Inexplicably, Schoop tried to extend a single into a double. The play was right in front of him, and he was thrown out by a country mile. It’s a mistake of aggression and one that occurred because he was trying to make something happen. But seeing that Adam Jones immediately followed with an opposite-way RBI-single, the Birds all but ran themselves out of a big inning with that play.

But the Orioles did have the lead – until the fourth inning. With a runner on first and nobody out, Solarte grounded back to Cobb at the mound. Cobb started what appeared to be a 1-4-3 double-play. However Cobb made what appeared to be an errant throw to second, pulling Tim Beckham off the bag. Toronto challenged the call, and the runner was ruled safe. That was ruled as an error against Beckham, and in fact he may not have been as equipped to make that play as someone who had played shortstop all season. But from my perspective it was an errant throw from Cobb.

Following that play, Grichuk’s RBI-double tied the game at one. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Diaz gave his team the lead by grounding into a run-scoring double-play. The ironic thing about that is that the Orioles are a team that really can’t seem to catch a break. Whether it’s dumb luck or problems they cause, there’s no margin for error whatsoever. So they induce a hot hitter to ground into a double-play, and it still nets the opponent a run.

Toronto would extend their lead to 3-1 later in that fourth inning on Maile’s RBI-single. One inning later Toronto would score a fourth run on a balk called against Cobb to run the score to 4-1 – which was the final. After the game Cobb admitted that he did in fact balk, although here’s an interesting point; the runner was almost halfway between third and home plate. The balk was called when Cobb stopped his windup as he noticed the runner. So…did the runner there in essence not deceive the pitcher, which in turn made him stop – which according to the letter of the law constitutes an attempt to deceive the runner?

After the game Buck Showalter said that he pulled Cobb after five innings due in part to the fact that a blister was popping up on his throwing hand. Cobb told the media that it’s something that’s happened before. Neither Showalter nor Cobb appeared to be concerned about this in the long term, however the Birds will have to make a roster move before tomorrow’s game when Andrew Cashner will come off the DL to make the start. Might Cobb be DL-bound?

The series concludes tomorrow at Rogers Centre. The aforementioned Andrew Cashner will get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s J.A. Happ. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall to Texas in series opener

Another quality start by a Baltimore Orioles’ starter, and another loss. Last night it was to the Texas Rangers, in game one of a three-game set. And Alex Cobb seems to be the willing victim almost every time. Cobb’s line: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Cobb wasn’t perfect, but he put the Orioles in a position to win the game. That’s all you can ask of a starter.

Cobb gave up a solo homer to Gallo in the fifth, and Texas took a 1-0 lead. However the Orioles did move to battle back, putting a runner on second in the bottom of the inning, getting him over to third, and then to home plate on Danny Valencia‘s sac fly-RBI. The O’s were very much in this game as it went along.

However the story of the season for the Birds has been clutch hitting. And no, I’m not even talking about their lack thereof. I’m talking about clutch hitting by the opponent. Oriole opponents have seemingly always just found a way to do whatever they need to do in order to win the game. And at times it’s happened in fairly uncanny manners.

This time it was a three-run homer in the seventh inning by Rua. Namely, a pinch-hit home run. Whatever the button that the Orioles have pushed this year, the opponent’s ended up pushing a seemingly better one. To make matters worse, Mazara’s RBI-double later in the inning ran the score to 5-1.

Now I will say that the Orioles did get some clutch hitting in the last of the seventh from Caleb Joseph. He put the Birds back in the game with a bases-clearing double that cut the lead to 5-4. He saw the pitch and he just went with it, which was good to see. But the O’s couldn’t get any closer than that, and they fell 5-4 in the opener with Texas.

The Orioles are also swapping out catchers again, deciding to option Chance Sisco to triple-A Norfolk after the game. The plan is to formally recall Austin Wynns sometime before tonight’s game. And speaking for myself I think that’s a smart move. Sisco has potential but in my view needs some additional seasoning. Wynns was a shot in the arm when he was here before.

Jimmy Yacabonis is scheduled to start tomorrow’s series finale, however he’s been taken ill and that start is now in jeopardy. There’s a chance that Yacabonis has strep throat, which (knock on wood!) I’m not exactly sure how you get during the summer. So that might leave the Orioles scrambling for a starter come tomorrow.

The series continues this evening at Camden Yards. Yefry Ramirez gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Martin Perez. Game time is set for 7:15 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: It all fell apart at once

The Baltimore Orioles had a shot to win yesterday behind starter Alex Cobb. And then suddenly, they didn’t. Cobb allowed a big homer, left the game with a blister on his throwing hand, AND the O’s seemingly threw their collective hands up and seemed to say oh well what are you going to do – all at about the same time. Cobb’s line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 earned), 1 BB, 5 K.

The Orioles put a couple of runners on base in the first inning, but failed to do anything. Chris Davis was called out on strikes on a questionable strike three. But nevertheless it was an opportunity squandered.

Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the last of the fifth on Garver’s two-run homer, and then doubled their lead an inning later on a two-run shot by Escobar. Prior to recording an out in that sixth inning, Minnesota would proceed to load the bases. Now the sole benefit to the defense with the bases loaded is that you have a force at every base. So with that in mind, Garver grounded a ball right to Manny Machado at short, who threw the ball home.

Throwing home in that situation is the right play, because you always want to cut the run off if you can. However Machado’s throw short-hopped the plate, and a run scored. If you need further evidence that this team is snakebitten for some reason, there it is. Machado, who later in the evening was named a starter in the all-star game, couldn’t make that play, a run scored, the bases were still loaded, AND there was still nobody out.

Not only that, but Cave’s subsequent RBI-single scored a run and kept the bases loaded with nobody out. Minnesota found ways to either hit the ball hard enough or just softly enough to find grass between Orioles’ fielders in this series and this game. Yet all of the Orioles’ hard-hit balls found mitts. So goes the season I suppose.

Polanco would score a run on a fielder’s choice-RBI, and Dozier would then clear the bases with a three-run homer. When the inning finally ended, Minnesota led 10-0. Chris Davis would smack a solo home run for the O’s in the ninth inning to keep them away from a shutout, but all in all a 10-1 loss is a pretty ugly Sunday.

There was an element of whatever the Orioles did was futile in this series and in this game. Even when an out seemed inevitable, their all-star shortstop bounced a throw to the plate. Yet the likes of Cave and others would just softly dump hits behind the infielders where nobody could get to them, or the likes of Polanco would just hit against the shift. Has to be frustrating.

The Orioles now return home and will play a doubleheader against New York starting late this afternoon. Jimmy Yacabonis gets the start for the Orioles in game one, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s CC Sabathia. Game time is set for just after 4 PM. (This is a traditional doubleheader, meaning two games for the price of one. Game two will begin roughly 20-30 minutes after the completion of game one.)

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