SARASOTA, Fla. -- The suspense is over in Sarasota and Birdland. Manager Brandon Hyde, ahead of his first Opening Day in his first big league managing job, has tabbed right-hander Alex Cobb as his choice to start against Masahiro Tanaka at Yankee Stadium March 28.
This has been quite a week and quite a turnaround for the Cobb family. At this time in 2018, Cobb and his wife, Kelly, hadn't even decided where Cobb would continue his career after six seasons in a Tampa Bay Rays uniform. Cobb and his wife also were not parents this time last year. All of that has changed. Cobb is an Oriole, the father of a brand new baby girl (we have no name yet) and now, for the first time, he'll start an opener.
In case you are wondering why Cobb has never started an opener before, the names James Shields, David Price and Chris Archer may have something to do with that.
The last two assignments for the Orioles were Kevin Gausman in 2017 and Dylan Bundy in 2018. Gausman is long gone, traded to the Atlanta Braves at the non-waiver trade deadline last season, and Bundy is searching for answers as he tries mightily to put together a much-needed bounce-back season.
The last O's starter to start consecutive Opening Days was Chris Tillman who was tabbed by former manager Buck Showalter to start the openers in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Hyde seemed genuinely excited to have been able to give Cobb the nod. He did not discuss his decision with Andrew Cashner or Bundy, the other two veteran hurlers in the starting rotation.
Hyde admitted he and Cobb shared a hug after the skipper revealed the news, part of the enthusiasm to all things new.
Hyde will now turn his attention to trying to hug and name the rest of his rotation, but my best guess is that Cobb will be followed to the mound by Cashner March 30 with Bundy getting the ball March 31.
While it's sheer conjecture on my part, it's quite possible that by the time the O's have their home opener at Camden Yards April 4, Cobb will have had a second start up in Toronto, which would make Cashner the team's starter for the home opener.
The Orioles' game against the Toronto Blue Jays March 13 features the return to action of Mark Trumbo. He has not played in a game since Aug. 19. Trumbo had surgery in September to repair cartilage damage in his right knee. He'll bat second and DH.
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