After securing the first two games of the series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the SF Giants will have a shot at a sweep on Sunday. They will also welcome back a key rotation arm from the injured list.
SF Giants activate key rotation arm ahead of Sunday's game
Alex Cobb was activated from the injured list. He hit the shelf after experiencing neck discomfort a couple of weeks ago. Mauricio Llovera was optioned to Triple-A, per the team's transaction page. Cobb is slated to start in the final game of the series.
The Giants expected the right-handed hurler to be a key piece to the rotation after signing him to a two-year, $20 million pact with a $10 million team option for 2024. That has not gone exactly as planned as Cobb has registered a 5.73 ERA, 2.63 FIP, 1.48 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, and a 3.92 SO/W ratio in eight starts with San Francisco in 2022.
The Giants' rotation hit a rough patch in May despite getting good results in terms of home run rate or ground ball rate and Cobb might be the epitome of a pitcher who has pitched better than his run-prevention numbers would indicate. He is not going to allow a .402 BABIP all season. That is bound to aggressively come down.
The difference between his ERA (5.73) and FIP (2.63) is a good indicator that some progression to the mean is in order. The Giants are likely satisfied with some of the stats that he can control like a 3.92 SO/W ratio, 65.4 percent ground ball rate, and a 0.72 HR/9 rate. By most measures, he has pitched well but ERA is not one of those measures.
Llovera was optioned to the Sacramento River Cats to make room for Cobb. The righty was recalled a couple of days ago as he took Heliot Ramos' spot on the roster. He tallied two scoreless appearances in his most recent stint with San Francisco.
In total, he has allowed five earned runs on 10 hits, including two home runs, with 10 strikeouts against only two walks in 11 outings in 2022. He originally came up as a starter but he has worked primarily out of the bullpen in recent years.
Llovera has recorded 11 scoreless outings with Sacramento to start the season. That is an impressive performance considering how hitter-friendly the PCL is. The 26-year-old pitcher will be back sooner rather than later if that streak continues.