Tampa Bay's lineup saw holes in Cobb’s performance early on and capitalized, with Manuel Margot smacking just the third homer -- a two-run shot -- of the season off the right-hander in the bottom of the second inning.
The Angels managed to take the lead in the third, scoring three runs on RBI doubles by Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon, though they didn’t stay on top long as it was the fourth inning when Cobb really struggled.
“They get up and we come back and we do some nice things, and then you put that big number up there,” said manager Joe Maddon of Cobb’s fourth inning. “[Cobb] just didn't execute his pitches. That's it. We could talk about selection. But he just did not throw that ball where he wants to and [it] was put over his head. All of a sudden, here we go.”
Cobb gave up three singles within the first five batters in the fourth -- the third an RBI knock from Joey Wendle to tie the game at 3. The next batter, Brett Phillips, smacked a triple to deep center to drive in two runs. And after a quick mound visit for the Angels, Phillips then scored the Rays' final run of the inning on a wild pitch.
“Giving up that that bases-clearing hit to Phillips is the one that's gonna keep me up at night,” said Cobb. “[I need] to figure out how to get that third out after that.”
When asked if there were any similarities in his last few starts -- he's been the victim of a couple big innings in an otherwise impressive stretch since returning from the IL on May 20 -- Cobb immediately pointed out his struggle to end frames. The four runs scored in the fourth all came with two outs.
“I've had good starts mixed in there,” said Cobb. “I've just had these really big innings that ruin basically every other outing. [It’s] really taking the team out of the game. I felt like I was on a good groove the last week. Outside of the two-run home run, I felt pretty good today, and then the big inning happened.”
Entering Saturday, batters had posted a .319 batting average against Cobb with two outs -- his career average is .263.
“Obviously, tonight we didn't pitch that well,” said Maddon. “Today, we just got beat up. That's just a butt-kicking right there, nothing you can do about that. But we haven't won the games that we could have won. And that's what separates moments like this.”
The Angels have dropped their last five games, winning just three of their last 10. Maddon pointed out that losses like this one are not good -- however, what frustrates him more are the close defeats.
“I mean, losing sucks,” said Maddon. “Doesn't matter who you're facing. You want to win the ballgame. To be on the stretch we're on, we've had some really good stretches and some .500 ball. Then we've hit some skids that have just crushed us.”