Cobb made eight starts at the start of the campaign but struggled in terms of his bottom-line numbers with a 5.73 ERA. He also, however, posted an impressive 2.73 FIP over that same time span. This tends to balance itself out over the long haul, but the discrepancy is especially apparent over a small 37 2/3 inning total.
Bottom line is that the results when Cobb took the hill haven’t been great thus far, but there are definitely some positive things to take away from Cobb’s start. One potential mitigating factor is the neck strain, and we can certainly speculate about how long Cobb might have been afflicted. After posting a 3.98 ERA/2.20 FIP over his first five starts (a total of 20 1/3 innings), Cobb hit a wall in his final three, where his ERA jumped to 7.79 ERA over those 17 1/3 innings. His FIP remained relatively stable at 3.14, even during those supposed clunkers.
The FIP likely takes into account a solid 19-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in those three starts. That’s a 25% strikeout rate and 5% walk rate, both of which are better than average for starters in 2022. But he also got clobbered in that time, yielding 24 hits and a pair of home runs as hitters slashed .338/.373/.493 on a .440 BABIP. That’s well above the .247/.315/.346 line on a .365 BABIP he was giving up in the five starts prior. If we just normalize that .440 BABIP down to .365 BABIP for those final three starts, the batting average against drops from .338 BA to .285 BA, and we can begin to see why FIP would think more highly of Cobb’s future.
Llovera, 26, made 11 appearances (one start), with a 4.66 ERA/4.69 FIP over 9 2/3 innings while serving up five hits and three walks against 10 strikeouts. He is in his first season with the Giants after signing as a free agent from the Phillies this past winter.