SAN FRANCISCO – Sometimes in baseball momentum is only as good as the next day’s pitcher and yesterday the Orioles could not do much with former Oriole right-hander Alex Cobb. He threw 7 2/3 scoreless last night, allowing five hits in the Giants’ 4-0 win over the Orioles.
The series is even at Oracle Park and the rubber match is today at 4:05 p.m. ET.
“Well he throws a lit bit harder,” manager Brandon Hyde said of Cobb who was an Oriole compared to the Cobb who is healthier now. “He was banged up a little bit when I had him and coming off some injuries. And the last couple of years his stuff is back to where it was in the Tampa days. Just throwing the ball extremely well right now.”
Now comes the concern that, after already missing center fielder Cedric Mullins with a right groin strain, the club could play some time without infielder Gunnar Henderson, just as his bat was truly coming around.
He has had some lingering lower back soreness it was learned after last night’s game, which he left before the start of the bottom of the third.
“Ced is a big loss for us. He’s going to be out a while and we have to pick up the slack there. And then Gunnar, these things happen. Little bit of soreness in the back. He’ll be fine,” Hyde said postgame last night as he added he was day-to-day and he removed him as a precaution.
Hopefully the Orioles avoided any injured list stint for Henderson, and maybe even him missing some or even any further time. We’ll know more later today.
Added Ryan O’Hearn if the club adds Henderson missing time to Mullins being out: “Yeah, both of those guys are such a huge part of our team. Hopefully Gunnar is all right. We’ll see. If that’s the case (and he is out), next man up. Keep going, keep grinding as a team. Hope those guys get healthy as soon as possible. We need them, they are big parts of our team.”
O’Hearn said Cobb, who is now 5-2 with a 2.71 ERA, had several pitches working last night.
“Splitter for one. He stayed out of the middle and stayed in the corners. Kind of located the splitter and curveball and the two-seam looked really good to me tonight, especially down and away. Just kind of kept us off balance. One of those days.”
Cobb used his split 57 percent last night, his highest percentage of the year, and he got 14 whiffs on 35 swings by the O’s against that pitch. Cobb is now 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his last four starts against one of his former teams.
The Orioles have lost five of eight games and are 10-9 over the last 19.
They have scored just three runs on nine hits this series and have now scored three runs or less in seven of the past nine games. They’ve been shut out twice in the last five games and five times in the last 29 games.
Zimmermann’s season debut: Baltimorean Bruce Zimmermann made his O’s season debut last night, throwing two scoreless on one hit with two strikeouts.
He went 2-3 with a 4.05 ERA in nine games for Triple-A Norfolk, throwing six scoreless in his last start before he got the call to join the team Friday at Oracle Park.
“Been going really well,” Zimmermann said of his season on the farm to date. “Making a lot of strides the last couple of outings, especially been able to get deep into games. But mainly there were things we were working on, me and (Tides pitching coach Justin) Ramsey down there, and we saw a lot of really good progress with consistency of pitches.”
What about being used in long relief?
“I think it’s just a slight mentality shift," he said. "You know this isn’t my first time doing that. So every time you do it becomes easier and you find different things that lock you in as opposed to a start where you have the whole day to figure out your schedule. I’m getting more and more comfortable with it."
And he’s getting comfortable with the Orioles being a winning and contending team. Not like when he first pitched for his hometown team in 2020.
“It’s a big change," he said. "I wouldn’t say a 180, but it’s pretty close to it. I think just in the whole mentality of the actual team, the whole front office, the players that are coming up."