MINNEAPOLIS -- After throwing five solid innings, Angels right-hander Alex Cobb left Friday’s game against the Twins in the sixth inning with a right index finger blister. The injury forced manager Joe Maddon to go his bullpen early and later ask closer Raisel Iglesias to try to record a six-out save, only to see him give up a one-run lead in a 5-4 loss at Target Field.
Cobb came out to the mound for the sixth, but he was removed from the game without throwing a pitch in the inning. He was visited by a trainer and Maddon after a warm-up pitch and looked at his finger before exiting. It's worth noting that Cobb missed time in early May with a blister issue that sidelined him for more than two weeks.
"We were hoping to get another inning out of him and everything was set up really well," Maddon said. "I think he felt [it] earlier in the game, but all of a sudden, it got more severe. But if he had to come out and say, 'That's it,' it had to have been bothering him a lot."
Cobb allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits and one walk with four strikeouts, helping him lower his ERA to 3.82 in 15 starts this season. An impending free agent, Cobb is a potential trade candidate for the Angels if they decide to sell, but it’s unclear how the injury could affect his trade value.
The right-hander, though, believes the injury isn't serious and he’ll find out more over the next few days on how it responds. Cobb added that he’s aware he’s a potential trade piece, but it’s not something he’s been focusing on leading up to next Friday’s Trade Deadline.
"Obviously, I know that's a possibility," Cobb said. "When you're on an expiring contract and you're pitching decently, you know teams are going to come after you. But I haven't put a lot of thought into it. I love it here. I'd love to stay here. Right now, the focus is on us winning ballgames."
Cobb’s exit had a domino effect on the bullpen, as Steve Cishek had to get warm in a hurry for the sixth and gave up a run, while Tony Watson threw a scoreless seventh but came back out for the eighth only to walk leadoff hitter Miguel Sanó. Iglesias was then brought in for the six-out save attempt despite pitching on Thursday.
Iglesias, another trade candidate, couldn’t hold the lead, allowing one-out singles to Nick Gordon and Ryan Jeffers. Jeffers’ single brought home two runs, but he was credited with just one RBI as catcher Kurt Suzuki made a throwing error to third base that allowed Gordon to score the go-ahead run. Left fielder Juan Lagares also had two opportunities to throw out the runner at home.
"I really thought Lagares was going to throw him out at the plate," Maddon said. "He had plenty of time to do it. The throw was extremely off line and then the [second] throw goes from the catcher and back out to him. I thought he had a great chance to get the next guy [Gordon]. I was surprised by both throws."
Cobb was staked to an early 4-0 lead, as the Angels scored three runs in the first against lefty J.A. Happ despite not having All-Stars Shohei Ohtani or Jared Walsh in the lineup. Walsh, however, pinch-hit in the seventh and took over at first base in the bottom of the inning -- he went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
José Iglesias brought home the first run with an RBI single before Suzuki connected on a two-run blast to left.
In the second, Jack Mayfield hit his second homer in as many days despite entering the series with just two career homers in 152 career plate appearances. Mayfield also made two tremendous plays at third base on hard-hit balls from Josh Donaldson, including a double play in the fifth that allowed a run to score but prevented a big inning from the Twins.
"Spectacular," Maddon said. "He had a really great game. He's been outstanding the last couple days."
But it wasn’t enough, as Iglesias blew his first save since June 11. Iglesias, though, has been on an impressive run and remains the club’s most likely player to be dealt if the Angels decide to sell.
"This guy has been nails for us all year,” Maddon said. “They didn't hit the ball really well, but they hit it and they dropped it in at the right spots -- and, again, we had an opportunity to make plays that we didn't make."