Alex Cobb dominates as Orioles suffer third straight loss

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After using 11 pitchers in 18 innings last night, the Rays needed a big outing from Alex Cobb this afternoon. He delivered, allowing just one run over 8 1/3 innings in a 5-1 victory over the Orioles.

Cobb was in control throughout, giving up just five hits and two walks while striking out 12 batters. He entered the ninth inning with a chance at a shutout, but David DeJesus misplayed a fly ball off the bat of Chris Davis and Adam Jones followed with an RBI single. Fernando Rodney secured the final two outs.

Cobb allowed two runs over eight innings and struck out 10 on Monday against the Rangers, so he’s stepping up at just the right time for the Rays. The 25-year-old right-hander now has a 2.90 ERA and 130/43 K/BB ratio over 136 1/3 innings this season.

Desmond Jennings drove in four out of the five runs for the Rays this afternoon, connecting for a three-run homer in the fifth inning and an RBI triple in the seventh. The 26-year-old only has a .246 batting average this season, but he has established new career-highs with 14 home runs and 54 RBI.

As for the Orioles, time is running out for them to make a run. Here’s our up-to-the-minute AL Wild Card standings:

Tampa Bay – 85-69
Cleveland – 84-70
Texas – 83-70 (.5 games back)
Kansas City – 81-72 (2.5 games back)
New York – 82-73 (2.5 games back)
Baltimore – 81-73 (3 games back)

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.