Alex Cobb believes he hasn't quite been pulling his weight in the starting rotation and is thrilled that his stellar outing on Saturday at Oracle Park helped secure a 2-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Cobb (ND, 7 1/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) pitched the deepest into a game he has all season, which provided the Giants with stability on the mound into the eighth inning before a bizarre balk called on the Brewers gave San Francisco a 2-1 lead heading into the ninth.
Both Giants manager Gabe Kapler and Cobb himself believe Saturday's outing was his best of the season.
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"I think it's fair to say that it probably was," Kapler told reporters postgame.
"For sure," Cobb said. "I think we're in an age of baseball where the wins aren't indicative of the type of game you threw or didn't throw. I did my job."
Saturday's outing was a sigh of relief for Cobb, who admits that he hasn't been pulling enough weight in the Giants' rotation. He's glad he was able to contribute the way he did and support a pitching staff that has had his back all season long.
"Just felt like it was something I needed, personally," Cobb explained. "Haven't really worked deep into the games this year, bullpen was running a little light and they picked me up a bunch this year so to be able to pick it up and eat some innings for them and just working off the momentum from last night, it was great. I went home a little early last night and just sat and watched it on the couch like a fan and was jacked up, so wanted to keep that momentum going today."
San Francisco Giants
"We've had some guys do their part in the rotation this year and I don't feel like I had been, and it was nice to contribute to that tonight."
Cobb hasn't pitched as bad as his underwhelming numbers this season might indicate. Throughout most of the first half, he was one of the unluckier pitchers in the game, falling victim to defensive errors, soft contact bouncing the opponents' way and a multitude of factors that played a role in a previously-inflated ERA that has since been widdled down to just 4.09.
First baseman and outfielder Darin Ruf, including many Giants teammates, recognize this and are thrilled that Cobb is getting the results he deserves.
"I saw basically what he's been doing all year," Ruf told reporters postgame. "Just today he got the results that he's been deserving of. I know he worked a lot this week to clean up some things and boy did it show. His pitches are very above average, all of them."
So what's changed? Well, Cobb has adopted a new approach with runners in scoring position, hyper-focusing on the moment and treating every pitch like it's the biggest moment of the game. And so far, it's working.
"It's just locking in a little bit better, you kind of take it like it's the last out of the game almost," Cobb told reporters. "It's like alright not going to allow any more free bases, quality contact and don't let crooked numbers start happening on the scoreboard."
In his last four starts, Cobb has allowed just six earned runs in 24 1/3 innings pitched. In his last three, he has gone at least six innings.
Outside of just two starts where he allowed seven and six runs, respectively, on May 17 and May 23, the 34-year-old hasn't surrendered more than three runs in any of his other 12 other starts this season.
Heading into the All-Star break, the Giants' rotation has allowed just five earned runs in their last 46 innings pitched, a phenomenal amount of success for a team that desperately needs momentum right now.
Alongside Friday night's starter Alex Wood and co-aces Carlos Rodón and Logan Webb, San Francisco's starters are getting hot at the perfect time.