The A’s had a couple of players to choose from as their Opening Night starter, but Cahill proved to be the most worthy to A’s skipper Bob Geren.
Cahill is 2-0 with a 5.29 in five starts this spring. While those numbers are not as impressive as southpaw Gio Gonzalez‘s spring numbers (1-1, 2.14 ERA in five starts), Cahill is likely getting the nod for what he proved last season.
Last year, Cahill went 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA in 30 starts for Oakland. He proved to be an effective starter, albeit a very lucky one. According to most skeptics out there, Cahill’s numbers should (and likely will) take a hit in 2011. Cahill had a BABIP (batting average on balls in play) of .238—which is considered ridiculously low—and most expect that he won’t be as lucky in 2011.
Cahill doesn’t strike a lot of guys out, as evidenced by his 118 K’s last year in 196.2 innings pitched. He does induced a ton of ground balls, however, and if he can keep the ball down in the strike zone, he should be in relatively good shape for the upcoming season.
In my opinion, however, Gonzalez should have gotten the nod over Cahill as Opening Night starter. You can’t overlook what he did last season (15-9, 3.23 ERA), and you certainly can’t deny the fact that he’s had a terrific spring campaign.
Both displayed a tremendous amount of growth last season, as the duo went a combined 33-17 in 2010. In that regard, both pitchers are highly deserving of being an Opening Night starter.