TORONTO–Alex Cobb has a 2-13 record. It’s hard to believe that one of the most sought-after pitchers in free agency leads the major leagues in losses.
Cobb gave up three unearned runs in the Orioles’ 4-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday. In the fourth inning with Justin Smoak at first, Yangervis Solarte grounded back to Cobb. He threw to Tim Beckham, and Beckham didn’t make contact with the bag.
Though the play was originally called an out, it was overturned on appeal and led to a decisive three-run inning.
Cobb hasn’t won since June 5. In his last eight starts, he has six losses and two no-decisions.
Manager Buck Showalter didn’t blame Cobb for the loss, citing the miscue and the Orioles’ lack of offense. They had three singles in the first when they scored their only run and just two more hits—none in the last 4 1/3 innings.
“I know it’s very black and white, but you look at his last month or so of pitching. Alex is not our issue,” Showalter said. “We need to have better ball security and swing the bats better. He pitched well enough to win the game. He gave up one earned run, and we just didn’t score enough.”
Cobb signed a four-year, $57-million contract late in spring training. It’s difficult to look at the win-loss column.
“I know that there’s a lot of discussions about wins and losses, and how they don’t matter,” Cobb said. “But I worked really hard my whole career to try and have a real nice-looking record because whether you’re a casual fan or real in-depth into the numbers, the first thing you see on the back of your cards is your win-loss.
“I’ve always taken pride in that in my whole career. I think I’ve always had a winning record. It sucks. I absolutely hate seeing that win-loss in parentheses next to my name. It’s sickening. The only thing I can do is try to eat at it as much as I can and get it back to respectable looking numbers.”
Cobb has about a dozen starts left to try to improve those numbers.
Austin Wynns, who caught his latest loss, says Cobb is not a 2-13 pitcher.
“He’s not. He’s so much better,” Wynns said. “He brings a lot. He brings a lot of just knowledge, too. He knows what he’s doing every single day. He does his research. He works on his craft every day. He doesn’t take any time off at all. That record does not show what he is. He’s more than that.”
Beckham comes up short
When Manny Machado was traded, Showalter shifted Beckham back to shortstop. When Beckham was acquired last July 31, he was inserted in short and had a marvelous offensive month before slumping in September.
This year, Beckham was switched to third when Machado moved to short. Beckham missed two months after core muscle surgery, and though his offense has ticked up since his June 25 return, his defense continues to lag.
Including his error on Cobb’s throw, Beckham has been charged with four errors in his last six games—two at third base and two at shortstop.
Showalter wasn’t sure if Beckham was in position to make the play.
“I’m not sure. I’d have to look at it, if he’s flying across there and didn’t have time to anchor,” Showalter said. “The clock should tell you with the guy that hit the ball and it’s slow developing that you don’t have a play at first, so there is no reason to hurry. You kind of anchor and get the out.”
On Friday night, Beckham could have been charged with two more errors. He took too long to field Russell Martin’s grounder and, had he made an accurate throw to first, Martin would have been out. The play was scored a hit, though it easily could have been scored an error.
Aledmys Diaz dribbled one between Beckham and third baseman Renato Nunez to score Martin with the game-winning run, and that could have been an error, too, although the ball changed direction.
A lot of people think the Orioles should have considered trading Manny Machado last July when a team presumably could have paid the Orioles more than the Los Angeles Dodgers did.
However, at last year’s All-Star break, Machado was hitting just .230. Even though a team theoretically would have him through two pennant pushes, his value was higher this break when his average was 85 points higher–.315.
Machado bet on himself to have a big season in his ‘walk year,’ and he has.