Alex Cobb will make his debut with the Los Angeles Angels against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday in Anaheim, hoping a reunion with manager Joe Maddon will help the right-hander rediscover the success he had early in his career.
Cobb has struggled so much in the past few years that the Angels were able to acquire him for a minor leaguer in an offseason trade with the Baltimore Orioles.
In his last three seasons in Baltimore, Cobb was 7-22 with a 5.10 ERA in 41 starts. It is a sharp contrast to his first six years in the majors, all with Tampa Bay, when he went 48-35 with a 3.50 ERA in 115 starts.
In the first four years of his career, 2011-14, Cobb played for Maddon, then the manager of the Rays. Cobb had his best season in 2013, when he went 11-3 with a 2.76 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 22 starts.
“He’s pitched a lot in the (American League) East so I do think a different division (might help),” Maddon said. “A change of scenery, whether it’s the venue itself, or just in general, I think it’s going to benefit him.”
Cobb, though, acknowledged his recent troubles are rooted more in mechanics than the uniform he is wearing. So this past offseason Cobb went to Driveline Baseball in Seattle, a performance training center, to help him fix his mechanical issues.
“Over the last years, it was never a lack of commitment or lack of effort,” Cobb said. “Things weren’t always clicking on every cylinder. I had some injuries I had to hurdle to fight to get back on the field. But I went to Driveline this offseason to get back to that form. I’m excited for this season. Physically, I still believe I am capable of all those things.”
Cobb has not pitched well against the White Sox in his career, going 0-3 with a 13.89 ERA in three starts. White Sox hitters Jose Abreu (2-for-5), Tim Anderson (2-for-3) and Adam Eaton (2-for-3) have had success against Cobb in limited opportunities.
Abreu, the reigning American League MVP, hit a grand slam Friday, his 199th career home run. But Abreu says the expectations that come with his credentials won’t result in him feeling additional pressure.
“If you know yourself and you are true with yourself, you won’t feel any pressure,” he said. “You know what you are capable of doing, and you know how you get there. I’ve been working hard throughout my whole career. I know that I get to this point because of my work. There’s nothing I should change because I’m now an MVP.”
Right-hander Lance Lynn will start for the White Sox, and like Cobb, he will be making his debut with his new club. Lynn came to the White Sox in a trade from the Texas Rangers for pitcher Dane Dunning and a minor leaguer.
Lynn, 33, was a workhorse last season, leading the majors in starts (13) and innings pitched (84). It included three starts against the Angels, when he went 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA. In his career against Los Angeles, Lynn is 4-2 with a 3.58 in nine starts.
–Field Level Media