SARASOTA, Fla. - Alex Cobb didn’t make a quick and unexpected exit today.
The veteran right-hander finished what he started, completing his scheduled three innings against the Pirates. He gave up one run and two hits, with a walk and strikeout.
Cobb threw 43 pitches, 20 more than he totaled in only two-thirds of an inning in Friday’s spring debut versus the Rays. He felt better about his outing “just from a comfort level,” a calmness allowing him to proceed through the lineup.
“First time out there, it’s really difficult to prepare for it,” he said. “You throw as many bullpens and sim games and whatever, but once you get on the mound the game speeds up on you. I feel like I’m old enough now to where it shouldn’t be speeding up on me, but it did a little bit that first game. You tend to leave some balls up over the plate and they get hit.
“The focus today was just driving the ball down in the zone and getting some off-speed pitches over for strikes. So yeah, it was a better workday for sure.”
Melky Cabrera singled with two outs in the first and was stranded. Cobb retired the side in order in the second, but a leadoff walk to Patrick Kivlehan led to a run on Adam Frazier’s double.
The Orioles executed a 6-4-5-6 putout on a rundown and Cobb retired Cabrera on a ground ball to conclude his day.
Cobb has been studying the video produced by slo-motion cameras to detect any flaws in his delivery.
“I don’t think I used it any more between starts this time, but I’ve used it a lot this camp,” he said. “There’s been times where I even go play catch warming up and I’ll feel something and I’ll go over to the cameras and make sure I get a couple on there just to see what the good ones look like versus the bad ones.
“Those will come into play and help a lot when you’re dialed in more with your mechanics and you’re able to manipulate the ball a little bit more once that foundation is laid. I’m excited. They’re something I’ve never used before and they’re bringing a lot of technology to our attention. It’s going to be beneficial not only for older guys but the younger guys to develop.”
Nate Karns retired the side in order in the fourth after replacing Cobb. Karns hadn’t pitched since Feb. 25 due to a sore arm.
“Felt good,” he said. “Quick inning, located my pitches, used all my pitches, got good results, so I’m happy with that. And ready to move on to the next step.”
Karns wasn’t going to last beyond one inning.
“I think we’re just taking it easy, because I kind of had fatigue a little in the beginning of camp,” he said. “Trying to get out there and have a good inning, build off that.”
The slowness in bouncing back from his start didn’t set off any internal alarms despite last year’s elbow injury.
“At this point in my career, when you have something like that, you can kind of determine off the bat if it’s something bad or not,” he said. “This was just something that I felt like it wasn’t going to be beneficial for me or the team if I went out there and tried to pitch three innings feeling the way I did. So just kind of reset it and go from there.”
Mychal Givens followed up Sunday’s bullpen session with a second outing that lasted only two-thirds of an inning. He was charged with five runs, three coming on Josh Bell’s home run to center field to give the Pirates a 6-2 lead.
J.B. Shuck led off the inning with a home run to tie the game 2-2. Kivlehan singled and Jacob Stallings was hit by a pitch, but Givens retired the next two batters on fly balls to tease the possibility of an escape.
Cabrera nixed those plans with an RBI single and Bell unloaded to leave Givens’ ERA at 40.50.
In his debut outing on Friday, Givens allowed one run and two hits with a walk and two strikeouts before reaching his pitch limit with two outs.
“They’re just bad outings,” he said. “Spring training is early. Just trying to get through it and work on it and (get ready) for the beginning of the season.
“It’s disappointing ... I’m just trying to get through spring training healthy and trying to get my stuff ready for the season. I’m trying to work on some stuff, but even when you’re working on stuff you’re still trying to compete and I missed a couple of pitches that I shouldn’t throw and got hit pretty good.”
Givens is fine physically, which is most important. An inflamed ERA isn’t critical in the first week in March.
“Feel good about everything,” he said. “Just have to go out there and work on what we’ve been working on and keep on competing.”
The Orioles took a 2-1 lead in the fourth against Steven Brault, a pitcher they included in a 2015 trade with the Pirates for outfielder Travis Snider.
Final update: The Pirates scored three more times in the ninth with three hits off Josh Lucas and another - a Ke’Bryan Hayes triple - off Jay Flaa. The Orioles went down 1-2-3 in the home half as Preston Palmeiro grounded out and Yusniel Diaz and Pérez both popped up. Pirates win 10-4.