After the Dodgers and Cardinals needed 13 innings to determine a winner in Game 1 of the NLCS last night, we’re scoreless through four innings in Game 2 this afternoon at Busch Stadium.
With the shadows looming on the field of play, Michael Wacha and Clayton Kershaw have dominated the hitters early on in this one, giving up just one hit apiece. The biggest scoring threat came in the bottom of the first inning after Matt Carpenter led off with a triple to right field, but Kershaw was able to strand him at third base. There will be no no-hit bid for Wacha this time around, but the rookie right-hander has matched Kershaw so far, striking out four batters while walking none. That includes two swinging strikeouts of Yasiel Puig.
We have a quite a pitchers’ duel on our hands here. On to the fifth inning we go.
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.