Cobb’s hip impingement had become too painful to bear over the last few weeks; basically, since the 131-pitch 1-hitter on August 29th. It forced him to adjust his delivery to pitch around the pain which necessarily impacted stuff, control, command — his overall effectiveness.
It’s a real shame that this will probably be the last time we see him pitch in 2023, barring miracles of team performance and medical rehab. He might be ready for the 3-game Wild Card round, but more likely the next round, which might make more sense given his stark home/road splits this season.
But rather than think about the future (the Giants do have a $10 million team option on him for next year with a $2 million buyout), let’s recall all the great things he did this season. He came roaring out of the gates with a 3-1 record, 1.70 ERA (2.92 FIP) in his first 8 starts (47.2 IP), including a shutout. He walked Shohei Ohtani and struck out Randy Arozarena in a scoreless inning of the All-Star Game. He’s had a bad second half (5.25 ERA in 61.2 IP - 12 starts) — in fact, he’s been the least valuable pitcher on the Giants since the All-Star break — but we did get that incredible 1-hitter.
For a nice chunk of the season, the Giants had a reliable one-two punch of one of the best pitchers in the sport and the most underrated pitcher in the sport. Here’s hoping he can rehab this hip impingement without surgery, even though that’s the selfish fan mind at work here. Reading about hip impingements and I’d probably do anything to get rid of this type of pain:
Hip impingement, or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), occurs when the femoral head (ball of the hip) pinches up against the acetabulum (cup of the hip). When this happens, damage to the labrum (cartilage that surrounds the acetabulum) can occur, causing hip stiffness and pain, and can lead to arthritis.
Most patients with FAI experience pain or stiffness in the groin or front of the thigh. This often occurs or is made worse with bending up of the hip or at the waist, such as when riding a bike, tying shoes or sitting for long periods of time.
So, if it’s surgery, which has complications and added rehab time which could impact contributions to the team, that’s fine with me. I want to see Alex Cobb pitch again. Hopefully, it will be for the Giants.
Meanwhile, Evan Webeck reports that Keaton Winn has hit the COVID IL, and the move is retroactive to yesterday (September 19th). That’s a 7-day minimum stay, so, it’s possible the Giants get him back in time for the final weekend of the regular season. He’s had a strong September for the club: 15 IP in 3 appearances (2 starts), 16-3 K-BB, 0 HR allowed, 3.60 ERA/1.72 FIP.
To take their roster spots, the Giants recalled Kyle Harrison and Sean Hjelle (whose rostering continues to be a mystery). We should probably be a little excited to see Harrison return, but it’s clear to me that the Giants rushed him up in large part because of their spate of injuries and lack of action at the trade deadline on the pitching side of things. If things go sideways today, maybe we’ll see him; but otherwise, he’s going to next face either the Dodgers (a team that rips up pitchers of all stripes) or the Padres (the team that tuned him up pretty good earlier this month).
So, this is sad news. The Giants have lost two of their better pitchers for the rest of what’s left of this mostly disappointing season.