MINNEAPOLIS — Alex Cobb’s snake-bitten season took a strange turn when the Orioles right-hander left Sunday afternoon’s 10-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins in the sixth inning with a blister on his right index finger.
Cobb was cruising through a lefty-heavy Twins batting order, allowing just three singles over four scoreless innings before giving up two-run homers by Mitch Garver and Eduardo Escobar in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively.
Two batters after allowing Escobar’s homer, Cobb walked off the field with head athletic trainer Brian Ebel. The Twins would score eight runs that inning with three of them charged to Cobb, who owns a 6.57 ERA in 16 starts.
Cobb said the blister began to bother him in the fourth inning.
“It was getting hot later on in the game, so tried to cool down a lot between innings with ammonia and wet towels and stuff and just hot spots started popping up in that last inning and I could feel it kind of affecting my pitches quite a bit, so the move was to just get out of there.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Cobb should be able to make his next start, which would be Friday at home against the Texas Rangers.
“It’s like walking around with a pebble in your shoe,” Showalter said. “He had a little split nail, too, that I didn’t know anything about until that last inning. Brian’s already taken off some of the callus and it already feels better. I think he’ll make his next start.”
Said Cobb: “I’ve dealt with it in the past. Should only be short-term issue. It won’t harm my next outing, I don’t believe.”
Cobb believed he could have continued, but agreed leaving the game was the best move.
“I probably could have, but I don’t know if it would have been doing anybody any good at that point. The way things were kind of going. It is what it is. It was a minor issue early, but if September baseball and we’re pushing to make the playoffs, it might be a little tougher to get me off the mound, but they made the decision and I think it’s probably the best decision under the circumstances.”
Early on, Cobb was getting swings and misses with his split-change and using his curveball to get ahead in counts early, and said he had “probably the most quality executed pitches that I’ve thrown this year” before the blister forced him from the game.
“With the changeup, being able to mix the offspeed in and out of the zone and the fastball on both sides of the plate. I was feeling really good,” Cobb said. “I got into a little bit of a battle there with Garver. I thought I made a decent pitch there, but he got his hands inside really and he was able to hit it out. But overall I was happy with the day, with the way my mechanics were feeling, and I want to carry that into the next outing.”