O’s game blog: O’s Alex Cobb faces his former Tampa Bay teammates

Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb (0-2, 15.43 ERA) makes his first start as an Oriole at home and he will do so against his former team. For the first time ever Cobb pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays as the clubs open a rain-shortened, two-game series.

Cobb has failed to complete the fourth inning in his first two starts, which came at Boston and Detroit. He went a combined seven innings allowing 20 hits and 15 runs (12 earned). He has allowed a .500 batting average (20-for-40) in those games.

Alex Cobb throwing grey tall.jpgCobb’s last outing came in the sixth and final game of the Orioles recent 0-6 road trip to Boston and Detroit. He wanted to be a stopper last Thursday but could not.

He was candid in pointing the finger at himself after that game at Comerica Park.

“In the offseason I wanted to join a winning team and be a big reason why they are winning ballgames,” he said. “I feel like it is the opposite right now and I’m putting them behind the eight ball in terms of the score and really just eating up the bullpen.

“I’ve always taken pride in my career going deep in games and when the team needs a big start to step up and do it, and it’s been tough. I’m still a bit behind where everyone else is. Up here these guys take advantage of anyone that is off a bit. I need to be that guy I wanted to be in the beginning.”

Tonight Cobb faces Tampa Bay, the organization that drafted him in the fourth round in 2006. Over six seasons with them he went 48-35 with a 3.50 ERA.

He said the Rays organization will always mean a lot to him.

“Well it means everything in my professional career really,” Cobb said. “From signing at age 18 to the last out I made, actually here at Camden Yards, with them. It’s the development I went through on and off the field over there. There are a lot of people that you think about and appreciate that you’re thankful for that intervened in your life to help you become the pitcher and person that you are.”

With an offense averaging just 3.17 runs per game, the Orioles get another chance to get their bats going tonight. In going 3-7 at home, the Orioles are batting .176/.256/.285 and have scored just 19 runs in 10 games. The Orioles team OPS at home is .542 which is last in the AL. The next lowest is Minnesota’s .658.

The Rays have already faced a starting pitcher that was a former Ray four times this year. That includes David Price twice and also James Shields and Matt Moore. They are 0-4 in those games and the four pitchers combined to allow one earned run over 27 1/3 for a 0.33 ERA.

Tampa Bay (8-13) began the year at 3-12 but has gone 5-1 over its last six games. They are 7-5 after a 1-8 start. The Rays swept Minnesota over the weekend, scoring 26 runs in three games. Tampa Bay is 1-8 in AL East games, going 1-6 versus Boston. The Orioles are 4-6 in the division, going 0-3 against the Red Sox.

Right-hander Jake Faria (1-1, 5.82 ERA) will make his fifth start tonight. His season ERA is deceptive in that he gave up eight runs in one game over 1 2/3 versus Boston on April 7. In his three other starts he is 1-0 with a 1.76 ERA. Lefty batters hit .167 against him and right-handers are batting .306.

The Orioles are 6-17 and have lost nine of 10 and 11 of the last 13 games. They are 3-7 at home and have been outscored 25-6 in the first inning of their games.

On the farm today: Double-A Bowie (11-7) won at home 3-2 over Richmond this afternoon as lefty Keegan Akin pitched six scoreless on three hits. He is 2-2 with a 3.43 ERA over four outings and has allowed just one run in 12 innings his past two starts. Outfielder Cedric Mullins had two hits including a solo homer and Austin Hays went 2-for-4 and is batting .247.

Triple-A Norfolk split a doublheader with Lehigh Valley, losing the opener 9-8 before a 5-0 win in the second game. The Tides are 10-7 and in first place in the IL South.

In the opener Yefry Ramirez allowed five runs over 3 1/3 and Garabez Rosa had four RBIs. Tim Melville got the win in Game 2 and lowered his ERA to 1.65 with 5 1/3 scoreless. Andrew Susac hit a three-run homer in the first to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.

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