Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman Opposes Alex Cobb in Second Game

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 23: Alex Cobb #17 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning on May 23, 2018 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 23: Alex Cobb #17 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning on May 23, 2018 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

On Saturday, July 21, the Blue Jays will play the middle game of a three game set against the Orioles. Alex Cobb will take the ball for Baltimore and Marcus Stroman will climb the hill for the Blue Jays.

After enduring a nightmarish off-season, Alex Cobb was likely looking forward to prove other teams wrong on the field. However, this season has simply been a story of things going from bad to worse for the veteran.

A blister on his pitching hand is the latest woe that the righty has had to deal with this year. After the ailment was formed, he gave up two home runs in an eventual four earned run outing against the Minnesota Twins.

The key to hitting the right-handed hurler hard this year has been forcing him to pitch multiple times through the order. When facing a line up for the first time, the starter has been decent, posting a .257/.293/.378 slash line. However, these numbers quickly jump to a .326/.368/.603 line when he is going through the lineup a second time. Finally, in the dreaded third time through the order, he has posted a .387/.438/.720 slash line—truly horrendous numbers.

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Needless to say, the Orioles hurler’s numbers have been truly terrible this season. Through seventeen starts, the righty has posted a 6.41 ERA, 5.11 FIP, 1.576 WHIP, and 64 ERA+. In total, he has been worth a very disappointing 0.4 fWAR.

Cobb has changed his repertoire a little bit since last year. The right-hander switches between a sinker, curveball, splitter, four seam fastball, and change-up. The key difference between last year and this year, in terms of pitches, has been a loss of trust in the curveball— which has bumped up the four seamer usage—and the addition of a change-up.

Cobb has thrown his sinking-fastball 46.3% of the time this season. The sinker averages a velocity of 92.05 mph, with decent movement. The pitch has been hit fairly hard, producing a .298 BAA and .523 SLGA.

The righty has used his curveball 23.3% of the time this season. As mentioned earlier, the breaking ball has dropped about 11%, in terms of use rate. The curveball is quick, posting an average velocity of 81.5 mph, and sweeps hard to the glove side. Despite the impressive movement, the hook has been demolished, surrendering a .403 BAA and .740 SLGA.

The right-handed hurler has thrown splitters 15.6% of the time this season. The split-finger pitch is quite hard, maintaining an average velocity of 87.14 mph. As with almost all of his pitches, the splitter has allowed its fair share of hits, allowing a .303 BAA and .513 SLGA.

Cobb completes his repertoire with occasional four seam fastballs and change-ups. The heater has been used 9.2% of the time this season—a jump of about 8% since last year. The change is an entirely new pitch this year, seeing action 5.7% of the time. The four seam fastball has been decent, posting a .233 BAA. Also, the change is the only pitch in his repertoire that has yet to allow an extra-base hit.

The veteran has never been a strikeout pitcher, but this year his numbers have dropped even further. Entering into the second half of the season, he has produced a 15% K-rate and 6.12 K/9. However, he has limited walks reasonably well, maintaining a 6% BB-rate and 2.43 BB/9.

The Blue Jays shelled the right-hander in their last game against him. On June 10, the Blue Jays managed eleven hits, nine runs, and two home runs across Cobb’s three and two thirds innings of work.

Somewhat surprisingly, though, the team does not have good overall numbers against the Orioles starter. Devon Travis and Russell Martin have had a lot of trouble with the starter in the past. Martin owns just three hits in sixteen at-bats. Similarly, Travis has hit just one double in eight trips to the plate. However, Curtis Granderson has demolished the veteran, going five-for-twelve with two doubles and five walks.

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The Blue Jays have been given the gift of playing the Baltimore Orioles out of the all-star break. One of the biggest problems this team has had in the past has been starting pitching—Alex Cobb was supposed to help that. Instead, the former Rays starter has been nothing if not disappointing this year.