The Baltimore Orioles' surprising signing of Alex Cobb March 21 heartened many fans. Two starts into the right-hander's Orioles' career, that optimism has disappeared.
In Cobb's first two starts with the Orioles, he has allowed 15 runs, 12 of them earned, on 20 hits in seven innings. It's the first time in his seven-season career that Cobb has given up 10 hits in consecutive starts.
Of course, some of Cobb's difficulties can be blamed on his lack of a spring training due to the late signing.
The Orioles signed Cobb to a four-year, $57 million contract, the priciest deal for a starting pitcher from outside the organization in team history.
Four years earlier, right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez was given a four-year, $50 million contract. In Jimenez's first two starts, he gave up eight runs on 13 hits for a 6.75 ERA. He ended 2014 with a 6-9 record and 4.81 ERA.
The Orioles are looking for more from the 30-year-old Cobb, whose ERA is now 15.43 ERA.
Making his second start of the season April 19, Cobb allowed seven runs, five of them earned, in the Orioles' 13-8 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
Cobb worked 3.1 innings and was relieved by Mike Wright, who gave up five runs in 3.1 more. By the time Wright's outing was done, the Orioles were already down, 12-4.
The Orioles' record is now 5-14, and they lost all six games of the road trip to Boston and Detroit.
The Orioles did equal their season high with eight runs, and the 13 runs scored in the past two games is their highest of any two games so far this season.
The Orioles have been swept in three of their four road series and are 3-10 away from home. They have gone 2-14 in nine-inning games this season, but they are 3-0 in extra innings.
Three weeks into the season, the Orioles now face a critical 10-game homestand beginning April 20. The Orioles were 46-35 at Camden Yards last season, but they have not played well at home so far this year. In the Orioles' first six home games, they have scored a total of 12 runs.
If you choose to be optimistic, the Orioles' bats have perked up somewhat. Shortstop Manny Machado had two home runs and a double with four RBIs April 19 and is now hitting .338.
Center fielder Adam Jones had three hits, and his average is up to .250. Third baseman Tim Beckham had three hits, breaking an 0-for-17 skid.
Chance Sisco got the start and is hitting .257 while Caleb Joseph, who began the season as the Orioles' regular catcher, is hitting .081 (3-for-37). It will be interesting to see how much more playing time Sisco will earn if Joseph continues to slump.
Manager Buck Showalter told reporters in Detroit that closer Zach Britton, who's on the 60-day disabled list after right Achilles tendon surgery, would throw off a half-mound April 20 and should soon begin throwing off a full mound.
Britton is still more than a month away from being eligible to return from the DL, but perhaps if things go well for him during this homestand, he'll be nearing a rehab stint when the team heads to the West Coast at the end of this month.
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