The Los Angeles Angels finally snapped a six-game losing streak on Thursday night against the Houston Astros. Alex Cobb — in his second start since returning from injury — was excellent yet again, this time resulting in a 3-2 victory to close out the series.
Cobb started the night off perfectly. In fact, he pitched three perfect innings, retiring the first nine batters he faced in order. However, things got choppy in the fourth. It was unlucky, but an infield single, a blooper to center field, and a walk loaded the bases with one out.
The Angels veteran pitcher never lost his composure, striking out Yuli Gurriel and forcing Carlos Correa to ground out to escape the inning.
In total, Cobb pitched 5.2 innings, allowing one run on four hits and three walks. He struck out four as well while playing his classic pitch-to-contact style. Joe Maddon was particularly impressed with Cobb, saying that he’s playing the way he did during his prime with the Tampa Bay Rays, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“Pretty strong,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “I try to avoid comparisons, but he looks very similar to when I had him in Tampa Bay [with a 3.28 ERA in 498 2/3 innings from 2011-14]. There’s no difference. The velocity is the same. When that split is on, it’s devastating. He’s competitive and he’s a great athlete. I don’t know what the future holds for him or what his intentions are, but what I saw the last two times, it’s what I saw in the past.”
The Angels now have just nine games remaining in their season, meaning Cobb will — at most — get one more start before entering free agency. However, everything Cobb is saying makes it appear as though he wants to be back in Anaheim next season.
“I’ve loved every minute since the second they called me in the offseason and told me I was coming over to now,” Cobb said. “Everybody’s treated me with just so much respect and kindness. And I’ve always been a huge fan of Joe. He gave me my first chance when I was 23 years old, and he gave me another chance at 33 to bring me over here. And I’ve really enjoyed the fan base.”
At this point, it’s more likely a question of what Perry Minasian and Maddon want to do with Cobb versus if Cobb wants to return. It’s possible that the Angels are able to secure one of the star pitchers on the market, in which case Cobb might become a casualty of that.
There is so much uncertainty surrounding the Angels’ plans this offseason. For now, Cobb and Maddon get to enjoy working alongside one another for at least a couple more weeks.
Maddon expresses frustration at playoff drought
One of the things that makes it seem unlikely that Cobb is back with the team next year is Maddon’s recent rant about the state of the Angels franchise. He made it clear that the team needs to be more aggressive in getting pitching that will change the outlook next season. It’s unclear if Cobb fits that bill.