It was curious initially that he didn’t pitch a second inning as planned, coming off a season when he made just three starts. But Cobb, who has been feeling ill for several days, said it was that illness and nothing else that limited him to one frame today.
“I told you I wasn’t feeling that good, so just feel dehydrated and dizzy,” he said. “So, figure it was stupid to keep pitching and risk anything. I just didn’t feel very good today. I put a lot of work into getting ready for the game and got a lot of information in the game. So there is a lot to build off there.”
Cobb got the leadoff hitter, center fielder Adam Haseley, on a fly ball to deep center, and second baseman Scott Kingery popped out foul to first base. Then first baseman Rhys Hoskins hit a high fly ball that fell safely on the warning track in left center for a double. The sun and/or wind seemed to hinder Baltimore left fielder Ryan Mountcastle in his pursuit of the ball. Cobb then got left fielder Nick Williams to ground to second to end an 18-pitch inning.
He used his curveball and split often in the inning. His fastball was mostly 89, 90 mph, once touching 92 on the Spectrum Stadium scoreboard.
“Just getting competition and back up to form with game speed and seeing another jersey in the box,” Cobb said when asked what he could take out of this game. “There is an added concentration level that comes into play where you can throw a fastball in and you’re not worried about hitting the guy because you don’t want to hurt your teammate. There are things that (with) game experiences you can’t emulate anywhere than on the field. It was good. Lot of times I start off spring training with an inning. So, I was contemplating whether to pitch or not, but I wanted to start off spring training with some experience on the field today to build off that.”
It was the first game outing of any kind for Cobb since last April 26, when he gave four homers in four innings at Minnesota. Cobb made just three starts in 2019, going 0-2 with a 10.95 ERA. A hip procedure in June officially put an end to his season. He said the hip was no issue and was fine today.
“I was actually happy with the way my pitches were working,” he said. “I didn’t have the location as dialed in as I’d like. But you know, I can build off of that. I’ve heard pitchers talk about how they work on their stuff over location early on. I think that is a good way to think about. I would have liked to throw more curveballs over the plate, but I was happy with throwing the changeup behind in the counts and working on the four-seam fastball up in the zone. Got some popups and was happy with that too.”
David Hess followed Cobb and threw two scoreless, allowing one hit and one walk, and he fanned three. Philadelphia broke a scoreless tie when Mikie Mahtook hit a three-run homer to left-center in the fourth off Baltimore lefty Keegan Akin. The O’s had two hits through four, one a double by Renato Núñez.
Hyde on Davis: Before today’s game, manager Brandon Hyde expressed his satisfaction with Chris Davis’ first game on Sunday at Ed Smith Stadium. Davis singled and walked twice against Boston.
“I liked all three at-bats,” said Hyde. “First at-bat I was excited about. Couple of runners on, nobody out. Gets behind on the count. Fouls a couple of pitches off, takes a couple of tough ones and works a walk. Great at-bat. I liked the left-on-left too. Stays in there, stayed closed. Used the whole field and punches one to left off a left-hander. Thought it was a really good Day One for him, took three good at-bats.”
Hyde was asked if Davis needs to go opposite-field more often against the shift. Hyde paused for a moment and then provided this answer:
“I don’t want to take away his raw power, but it would help him out to make a little more contact. To give himself an opportunity. I just felt last year he was behind in the count so often. So yesterday, it was 3-0 and I yelled something out there to make sure he knew I was freeing him up. I want him to move the barrel. I want him to be on time with the fastball. I want him to be more aggressive at the plate in the right situations. He was aggressive yesterday and walked twice. That is what is going to happen. There’s fear there that ‘If I miss, he’s going to do damage on me or put the ball in play hard,’ and now all of a sudden, people are pitching to the edges and off and not just attacking him. And I’d just like to see him be more aggressive early in the count and make a little bit more contact, for sure.”
Update: The Orioles threw away a comeback as the Phillies broke a 7-7 tie with a walk-off run. The Orioles trailed 7-1 after Travis Lakins gave up sixth-inning homers to Nick Williams, Logan Forsythe and Nick Maton. Pat Valaika and Richie Martin answered with solo shots of their own in the seventh. The Orioles gained the tie in the eighth, due in part to Phillies third baseman Austin Listi’s defensive woes. After Mason Williams’ leadoff single, Rylan Bannon reached on an infield single that Listi had trouble getting out of his glove. José Rondón’s double brought both runners home. Ryan McKenna reached on a Listi error. Mason McCoy took McKenna’s place on a fielder’s choice, then Taylor Davis singled. Malquin Canelo’s double drove in McCoy to tie the score, but left fielder Luke Williams’ throw to the plate beat Davis by plenty. Dean Kremer got the Phillies 1-2-3 in the eighth, but in the bottom of the ninth, leadoff batter Ali Castillo doubled to left field off him and scored two batters later. Williams’ comebacker careened off Kremer, whose lob toss to Davis at first went too high to get the out. Davis tried to throw behind Castillo, trying to catch him coming too far off the bag, but the throw sailed wide, allowing the game’s final run.