MINNEAPOLIS - The Orioles couldn’t avoid another loss today, but they dodged a serious injury involving Alex Cobb, who left the game in the sixth inning with a blister on his right index finger that shouldn’t impact his next start. It wasn’t a hamstring or knee after he made a move toward Logan Morrison’s bunt in the sixth.
Cobb said he noticed the blister near the end of 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,” Cobb said after a 10-1 loss to the Twins.
“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.”
Manager Buck Showalter described it as a “really deep callus underneath.”
“You can call it a blister or whatever you want to call it,” he said. “It’s like walking around with a pebble in your shoe. He had a little split nail, too, that 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.”
The game unraveled in the sixth inning, when the Twins sent 11 batters to the plate and scored eight runs. Cobb was charged with five runs total and four earned. Paul Fry was charged with four total and two earned. Ryan Meisinger served up a three-run homer to Brian Dozier to contribute to the carnage.
“Those are the innings you try to stay away from as a pitcher,” Cobb said. “When you’re able to do that, it usually gives your team the opportunity to stay in the ballgame and win. We didn’t do that. That’s seemed to happen quite a bit, but a lot of bad things happen when you’re playing bad baseball like we have been. When you go back and take a look at the things that have happened, you’re going see a lot of things that we’re doing that winning teams aren’t.”
Cobb struck out three of the first four batters and took a shutout into the fifth before Mitch Garver’s two-run homer following a leadoff walk to Max Kepler.
“Probably the most quality executed pitches that I’ve thrown this year with the changeup, being able to mix the off-speed in and out of the zone and the fastball on both sides of the plate,” he said. “I was feeling really good.
“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.
“We didn’t know anything about (the blister),” Showalter said. “He was pitching really well and actually what hurt him in the fifth inning is he had two counts in his favor, I think it was 0-2 and 1-2 on two guys and they both got 90 feet on him.
“On the home run he was ahead in the count and came in with a pitch that was a good pitch to hit, but Alex was really good. Obviously, the first four innings. We’re just not scoring any runs and it really creates a lot of pressure on pitchers to be perfect.”
Cobb said he might have continued under different circumstances.
“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,” he said. “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 my off the mound, but they made the decision and I think it’s probably the best decision under the circumstances.”
Said Jonathan Schoop, who had two more hits today: “It’s tough. He came out with a blister. He pitches really good. I think and the catcher put a good swing on the ball. It was a pretty good pitch. He got a blister there and that’s not easy to do, to go out and compete and you have to tip your hat to them.”
The first seven Twins reached in the sixth, including Eduardo Escobar on a two-run homer, and Manny Machado’s throwing error on an attempted force at home led to the unearned runs.
“They go back and change that to an error?” Showalter asked. “Who did they give it to? Yeah. But we don’t convert a lot of plays that don’t show up in the error column. That’s one of Manny’s fortes. He made the right decision.
“What happens a lot of times is when you’re throwing to the force, that’s a really unusual play from that depth and really had a little more time than he thought, because you’re used to throwing for a tag play on that. It’s almost like a really. And you’ve actually got a little more time to set and throw. But I can’t fault him. We just didn’t score.”
Showalter didn’t believe that Fry was rushed into the game. The left-hander continued to warm in the bullpen after Cobb exited and made more throws from the mound.
“He was just about ready anyway,” Showalter said. “Alex, we were going to take him out before Kepler anyway. Fry threw, what, 14 out of 15 strikes? I can’t really fault him. Meisinger struggled, obviously.
“I wanted to get (Miguel) Castro back out there and he pitched well, and I thought (Brad) Brach had a clean inning. I wanted to get him back out there after a couple days off. But I didn’t want to leave Fry out there too long and not have him available tomorrow. But we only had, I thought, one really strong hiccup and we just couldn’t make any plays to turn it around.”
The first inning didn’t bite the Orioles today, but the middle frames have a tendency to hurt them, too.
“To be honest, I want to know (why),” Schoop said. “I don’t know. Everybody wants to do good. Everybody wants to go out there and shut them down. We want to go out there and score. Sometimes, the other team swings the bats really good, too, so I want to know what’s going on. I don’t know.”
The Orioles have lost 13 of 14 and are 41 games below .500 at 24-65, a stretch that hard for Schoop and others to comprehend.
“Yeah, of course,” he said. “We believe in each other and we believe in what we can do. Things aren’t going our way, we’re down. But you’ve got to keep trusting yourself, you’ve got to believe. The same way we lose a lot, we can go on a streak and win 20 games, too.”
Another road trip without a win makes it that much harder to come back home.
“It’s really tough,” Schoop said. “It’s really tough when you’re losing. It’s a lot more fun when you’re winning. I’ve been with this team four years already, this is my fifth, and I got used to winning already with this team. So, this year’s tough and we’ve got to pick each other up and keep our heads up and go out there and try to win the game and play hard and believe in ourselves.”