“Every time you come to this town, it’s just one after another after another. It’s always been like that. Every time you come to Oakland, you’re going to face good pitching.”
Those were the words of Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen following his team’s loss in Oakland Saturday afternoon. For the most part, history seems to back up Guillen’s comments about Oakland’s ability to find good young pitchers.
Entering Sunday, the Athletics lead the majors in ERA (2.76), and are 3rd in quality starts with 25. The A’s have assembled a young pitching core in recent years with the help of a few trades, and the rebuilding phase that started back in 2007 has helped lay down the foundation for Oakland’s second-coming of the “Big Three.”
This year, the A’s have a “Big Three” Version 2.0 with Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, and Gio Gonzalez. The success of Oakland’s young trio is a main reason why the team is hanging around in the AL West despite poor offensive numbers. The back-end of Oakland’s starting rotation is no joke either, though.
Brandon McCarthy and Tyson Ross have been effective in the roles in Oakland’s rotation. McCarthy, who signed with Oakland this past offseason, has been mostly effective this season while staying healthy. Ross, who has been filling in for the injured Dallas Braden, has been even better in his role with Oakland.
Ross had battled for the No.5 spot in Oakland’s rotation in the spring, but lost out to McCarthy. When Braden went down, however, Ross stepped in and has yet to look back.
In 8 appearances (5 starts), Ross is 3-2 with a 2.50 ERA. He’s logged 36 innings of work thus far, and he’s thrown the ball extremely well over his past three starts. He’s 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA in the month of May. While Oakland’s young trio of Cahill-Anderson-Gonzalez is getting most of the attention this year, A’s fans should take note of Ross’ high level of play this season as well. If he continues to play the way he’s playing, the A’s have themselves yet another quality pitcher on their hands.
The A’s have put together a very strong, and very deep starting rotation this year. Kudos to Billy Beane and the rest of Oakland’s front office for finding these young pitchers. Now if only they can find some help on offense…