In the 2013 and 2014 MLB seasons, Alex Cobb was one of the better pitchers in all of baseball. At the time, he was being managed by Joe Maddon on the Tampa Bay Rays. However, a few lackluster years with the Baltimore Orioles had him needing a fresh start. This is when Maddon and the Los Angeles Angels came to the rescue.
The Halos traded infielder prospect Jahmai Jones to the Orioles in exchange for Cobb, a move that was surprising at the time. While Jones had not shown the expected improvement the team wanted from him, he was still a young and talented player. However, Maddon wanted the chance to work with Cobb again, and perhaps get him back to where he was with the Rays.
After just two starts, Cobb is already looking like the player he used to be. Not only does he look great on the mound, he feels like he’s pitching with some of his best stuff in a long time, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“When things are rolling and you’re able to do what you want with each pitch, it takes you back to some of your prime days,” Cobb said. “That’s what I’ve been working to get back to, to feel that way, to have a good rhythm in the game and be able to go to whatever pitch I want.”
The key for him was his splitter, which he threw 52 times out of his 97 pitches.
“When that split is dialed in, like it was tonight, that sets everything else up,” Maddon said.
Cobb said he had some moments this spring when he felt his splitter was this good, but “in a game, that’s the best it’s been in a while.”
Cobb’s 2021 ERA is not reflective of the performances he’s had. In Monday’s win against the Kansas City Royals, Cobb was lights out through five innings. He had reached 10 strikeouts before the sixth and had retired 14 out of 15 batters. Unfortunately, he gave up all three of his earned runs in the sixth inning, two of which were after he had already left the game.
His first start against the Chicago White Sox was also great, as he allowed three runs in 6.0 innings and struck out seven.
Perhaps all Cobb needed was to work with Maddon again to recapture his time with the Rays. Whatever the case may be, the Angels seem to have yet another reliable starter, something they’ve spent years trying to figure out.
Shohei Ohtani will not pitch against Royals
The Angels two way star is currently dealing with the final stages of a blister. Because of this, Maddon has decided to be extra cautious and not have Ohtani pitch against the Royals and potentially even further into the future.
He said he doesn’t expect this to be a long term issue, but he wants to ensure that the blister goes away completely before sending him back out on the mound.