O's game blog: Alex Cobb faces Nats in series opener

When the Orioles begin an interleague series this afternoon against the Washington Nationals, right-hander Alex Cobb (1-6, 7.32 ERA) will be on the mound. He will be looking to bounce back from a poor outing Wednesday night in Chicago.

Cobb retired the first seven batters in that game, but was gone before the end of the home fourth. Over 3 2/3 innings, he allowed eight hits and six runs, and gave up a three-run homer to Yoán Moncada on a curveball.

The Orioles are 1-7 in Cobb's 2018 starts. On Wednesday, he tied for his second-shortest outing of the year and allowed six or more runs for the third time, which denied him a chance to record his 50th career win.

Cobb had an ERA of 3.38 in his four starts before that outing in Chicago, but he took a step back that night.

After that game Cobb assessed his season to date.

"There's been some absolute difficulties for not only me, but us as a team to start the season," he said. "But I'm not going to look into how people view me as a pitcher. I'd obviously love to go out there and show the fan base and all of baseball that the Orioles made the right decision in getting me, but it hasn't gone according to plan to start the season.

"I no doubt believe that I will return to form, and this commitment that was made - we made to each other - that it'll end up working out for both sides. But you do your best convincing when you're on the mound and pitching a good game. I plan on not looking too much into the stats and the overall season of numbers, but going game-to-game and trying to put a good streak together."

cobb-pitch-white-sidebar.jpgCobb is 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA in two home starts. Lefty batters are hitting .452 with an OPS of 1.215 against him for the season and right-handers are batting .327/.937. He allows a .375 average when pitching with runners in scoring position.

Cobb is 9-4 with a 2.50 ERA and 0.987 WHIP in 16 career interleague games, but he has never faced Washington.

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez (5-2, 2.38 ERA) will make his 10th start for the Nats. He has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five consecutive starts, going 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA. In that span, he's allowed 21 hits over 30 innings. In his last game, last Monday versus San Diego, he gave up two runs and two hits over seven frames.

Gonzalez has been outstanding at the start of his starts with an ERA of 0.60 in innings one through three. In four road starts, he is 2-1 with a 2.82 ERA. He has four quality starts, but has thrown 5 1/3 innings or less six times.

Gonzalez has had some struggles versus the Orioles. In his lone start last year in Baltimore, he gave up six runs and three homers over six innings on May 8. In 10 career starts, he is 1-6 with a 4.40 ERA and 1.567 WHIP.

The Orioles completed a 4-7 road trip yesterday, going 1-3 at Boston, 2-2 in Chicago and 1-2 versus Tampa Bay. They are 10-13 at home, but 7-4 in their past 11 games at Camden Yards.

The Nationals swept three at Miami over the weekend, winning by 9-5, 4-1 and 5-2 scores. The Nationals are 3-0 on a 10-game road trip that continues today here at Oriole Park and then moves on to Atlanta. Washington is 12-5 over its past 17 games.

The Orioles are 38-26 all-time versus the Nationals and the clubs split four games last season. The Orioles are 19-9 against Washington since 2012, going 5-0-1 in the season series.

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Orioles and Nationals lineups

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