Alex Cobb had rattled off two consecutive good performances for the Los Angeles Angels to begin the season. He has since fallen off with two less than ideal outings. His second, against the Texas Rangers, saw him unable to get an out in the third inning, as he allowed six hits and three runs while only striking out two.
He was then taken out of the game by Joe Maddon and replaced by Chris Rodriguez, who went 3.1 shutout innings to help the Angels get back on track to win the game. Cobb’s ERA for the season is now 7.16, making him yet another Angels starting pitcher that is having early struggles.
Maddon came up to Cobb after the second inning to tell him that he likely wouldn’t go much longer into the game. And while the natural reaction by a pitcher like Cobb would be to protest the choice, he understood why Maddon had to go that way, according to Jack Harris of The L.A. Times:
“It was obviously the right move by Joe to go to C-Rod there and get us the win,” Cobb said, adding: “The competitor in me is always going to want to pitch, and I told Joe I’ll throw until my arm falls off for him. He knows that. He chose the decision that gave our team the best chance to win the ballgame. I’ll never question that.”
As for what went wrong with Cobb, he blamed a lack of deception on his splitter, among other things.
“They’re running horizontally and off the plate,” he said. “So I had a lot of takes for balls on them. And then when they did swing at them, a lot of foul tips. And then eventually, some balls off the end of the bat were put into play and they found some holes.”
Maddon clearly made the right decision, as Cobb likely wasn’t going to find his stuff while in the middle of a bad outing. Going to Rodriguez ultimately saved the Angels lead and allowed them to hold on for the game and series win.
This doesn’t mean that Maddon has no faith in Cobb moving forward, but on Wednesday it simply wasn’t working. The next time Cobb takes the mound, Maddon will hopefully allow him some time to figure things out, as once Cobb knows he has a short leash, it might be difficult to figure out how to improve.
Maddon believes Chris Rodriguez could be a starting pitcher
This is not something that could become a reality any time soon. However, Maddon stated after Rodriguez’s 3.1 inning shutout that he could see him becoming a starting pitcher sometime in the future.
It’s unlikely that Maddon was saying that for the 2021 season, but it could be a part of the Angels decision making heading into 2022.