NEW YORK - Alex Cobb’s season has ended today after four pitches.
The blister on Cobb’s right middle finger flared up again while the veteran was facing Yankees leadoff hitter Andrew McCutchen. Cobb threw four fastballs between 90 and 92 mph, getting ahead 0-2 in the count before missing with the last two.
Cobb looked down at his finger after the fourth pitch, swiped at the ball with his glove in disgust and glanced toward the Orioles dugout. Manager Buck Showalter came to the mound and Cobb walked off with assistant athletic trainer Mark Shires.
Mike Wright Jr. replaced Cobb and walked McCutchen on two pitches. He gets charged with the walk despite inheriting a 2-2 count.
Cobb lasted only two innings in his previous start on Sept. 11. Showalter provided extra rest for him by pushing him back a day and limiting his side work.
A second bullpen session on Friday, lighter than the previous one on Wednesday, convinced the Orioles that Cobb could make the start, but the cut reopened and he won’t get another chance with the season down to seven games after today.
Today marks the shortest outing of Cobb’s career. It’s hard to go below zero innings and he never had failed to retire a batter.
He went 1 1/3 innings in a Sept. 1, 2016 start with the Rays after returning from Tommy John surgery.
Dylan Bundy also failed to retire a batter on May 8 against the Royals at Camden Yards. He faced seven of them and surrendered four home runs.
Signed to a four-year, $57 million deal on March 21, Cobb has been challenged throughout the season by an abbreviated spring training, a blister on his index finger and the blister on his middle finger that has caused a cut to form.
Cobb goes 5-15 with a 4.90 ERA and 1.411 WHIP in 28 starts covering 152 1/3 innings. He had a 6.41 ERA and 1.576 WHIP in 17 starts before the break and registered a 2.56 ERA and 1.156 WHIP in 10 starts in the second half.
Showalter has been struggling to fill out his rotation over the final weeks of the season with Cobb (blister), Andrew Cashner (knee) and Luis Ortiz (hamstring) succumbing to health issues and left-hander Josh Rogers shut down due to an innings limit. Rogers and Ortiz were sent home. Cashner remains unavailable and might be shut down, as well.
Bundy opens the Red Sox series Monday night at Fenway Park, but Tuesday’s starter is unknown and could be influenced by today’s bullpen usage. Showalter mentioned Sean Gilmartin and Jimmy Yacabonis as possibilities.
Wright threw 28 pitches in the first inning after he replaced Cobb, walking the first three batters and allowing them to score. Gleyber Torres had a sacrifice fly and Miguel Andújar and Gary Sánchez delivered RBI singles to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.
J.A. Happ struck out the side in the top half, but Tim Beckham’s home run in the second reduced the lead to 3-1.
The Orioles have been outscored 119-69 in the first inning this season.
Update: Beckham’s two-run homer off A.J. Cole in the sixth tied the game 3-3. Renato Núñez followed with a home run to give the Orioles a 4-3 lead.
Breyvic Valera left the game in the fifth with a fractured left index finger.
Update III: Stewart doubled in the eighth to score Rickard and incrase the lead to 6-3.