Andre Ethier goes for No. 30 against Mets

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When Andre Ethier tries to extend his hitting streak to 30 games tonight, he’ll be doing so against southpaw Jon Niese and the Mets. Some numbers:

Ethier vs. LHP in 2011: .229 average (8-for-35)
Ethier vs. LHP career: .246 average

Niese vs. LHH in 2011: .275 average (11-for-40)
Niese vs. LHH career: .286 average

Ethier and Niese have never faced off. Let’s look at the relievers Ethier is most likely to face:

Ethier vs. Tim Byrdak: 0-for-1, 1 BB
Byrdak vs. LHH in 2011: .227 (5-for-22)
Byrdak vs. LHH career: .204

Ethier vs. Mike O’Connor: 0-for-2
O’Connor vs. LHH in 2011: .182 (4-for-22) for Triple-A Buffalo
O’Connor vs. LHH career: .241

Ethier vs. Taylor Buchholz: 2-for-4, 1 BB
Buchholz vs. LHH in 2011: .222 (6-for-27)
Buchholz vs. LHH career: .243

Ethier vs. Jason Isringhausen: 0-for-2, 1 BB
Isringhausen vs. LHH in 2011: .167 (2-for-12)
Isringhausen vs. LHH career: .254

Ethier vs. Francisco Rodriguez: 1-for-4, 2 K
Rodriguez vs. LHH in 2011: .310 (9-for-29)
Rodriguez vs. LHH career: .211

Byrdak is the Mets’ primary lefty specialst. With Pedro Beato on the DL, the team just added O’Connor to help out against left-handers. He’s back in the majors for the first time since 2008.

The ideal scenario for the Mets has Niese facing Ethier three times and then Byrdak getting him once in the seventh or eighth inning. With the left-hander going, it’s probably their best chance of shutting down Ethier’s hitting streak. Not that that’s really the priority. But it is what many will be watching.

Report: Orioles interested in Alex Cobb

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MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.

Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.

It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.