Cliff Lee will enter July without a win.
At first, this was mostly a ridiculous quick based primarily on a lack of run support, but this isn’t just about the offense anymore.
Lee dropped to 0-5 last night by allowing six runs over 4 2/3 innings as part of a 6-2 loss to the Marlins. It was his shortest outing since last July 25 and the most runs he has allowed in a start since last July 3.
Lee has allowed 20 runs in 24 2/3 innings over his last four starts and has watched his ERA jump from 2.92 to 4.13 in the process. His ERA hasn’t been this high this late in a season since 2007 with the Indians when he finished with a 6.29 ERA. The 33-year-old is just the second former Cy Young Award winner to go winless over his first 13 starts in a season, joining Vida Blue, who did it with the Royals back in 1983.
Yes, Lee’s secondary numbers tell us that he has pitched better than the results indicate and he’s bound to go on a nice run here sooner or later, but it’s perfectly OK to say that this is just plain weird.
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.