Cobb vs. Sale in series finale

The Orioles close out their four-game series against the Red Sox today by sending their hottest pitcher to the mound.

Alex Cobb has gotten on a nice roll and it seems like no one is noticing.

Fourteen losses have a way of sticking to a guy like no-pest strips.

Cobb has strung together three consecutive quality starts with five earned runs allowed in 19 innings, and five in his last seven games. His ERA has gone down from 6.75 to a season-low 5.55, the improved feel for his split-changeup bringing the desired results.

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His three wins this season have come on the road, including a May 18 game at Fenway Park when he allowed three runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings. But again, it’s foolish to keep harping on a starter’s won-loss record. Cobb held the Rays to one run in seven innings in his last start and didn’t get a decision.

Cobb made his Orioles debut against the Red Sox on April 14 in Boston and surrendered seven earned runs (eight total) and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings. Cue the theories on signing late and a shortened spring training.

Today marks Cobb’s 15th career start against the Red Sox. He’s 6-4 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.254 WHIP over 81 1/3 innings.

Christian Vazquez basically owns Cobb. He should tuck the sales receipt in his pants pocket. But he’s on the disabled list after undergoing surgery on his right pinky finger and Cobb dodges a player who’s 10-for-14 against him.

Don’t come at me with your small sample size complaints. That’s 10 hits in 14 at-bats at the major league level against a pretty good pitcher.

J.D. Martinez is good against everyone on the planet, though I haven’t looked up the complete stats. Just my assumption. And he’s 7-for-13 with three doubles and a home run against Cobb.

Mookie Betts (see above) is 9-for-24 with three doubles and two home runs against Cobb. But Jackie Bradley Jr. is only 3-for-17 with seven strikeouts, so keep batting him ninth.

The Red Sox normally can run out as many relievers as they want without fear of burning out the bullpen. They followed up their 19-12 win Friday night by starting David Price in Game 1 and they’re sending Chris Sale to the mound today.

It changes the way a manager runs his ‘pen.

However, Sale is making his first start this month after going on the disabled list with inflammation in his shoulder and could be on a stricter pitch count.

What challenge awaits the Orioles? Sale didn’t allow a run in five of his last six starts. He entered yesterday ranked first in ERA (2.04), strikeouts (207), WHIP (0.872), hits per nine innings (5.7), ERA+ (215) and FIP (2.08).

Batters may throw a FIT.

Trey Mancini is 6-for-15 with two doubles against Sale, but Tim Beckham is 0-for-13 with seven strikeouts, Chris Davis is 2-for-20 with seven strikeouts, Caleb Joseph is 2-for-14 with six strikeouts and Joey Rickard is 2-for-12.

Mark Trumbo is 5-for-23 with two doubles, a home run and 11 strikeouts.

Sale is 5-2 with a 2.88 ERA and 1.260 WHIP in 14 career games (eight starts) against the Orioles and 4-1 with a 2.29 ERA and 1.220 WHIP in nine games (six starts) at Camden Yards. He’s struck out 50 batters in 39 1/3 innings.

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