After pitching a perfect game on Mother’s Day during the 2010 season, A’s left-handed pitcher Dallas Braden skyrocketed to stardom. The A’s lefty was a little-known pitcher pitching for one of baseball’s smaller market teams before that perfect game.
He’s come a long way from being that pitcher with a “handful of wins,” and has emerged as a vocal leader of the A’s clubhouse. The southpaw enjoyed a solid outing during the 2010 season, going 11-14 with a 3.50 ERA over 30 starts.
Oakland entered this year with the hopes for another strong performance from their vocal southpaw, but instead Braden fell victim to an injury that cut his 2011 season short. The A’s lefty made just three starts this year, going 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA over 18.0 innings.
He recorded 15 strikeouts and gave up five walks over those 18.0 innings, and he looked poised for yet another productive season before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.
His injury opened up the door for several new faces in the rotation, with Brandon McCarthy and Guillermo Moscoso emerging as solid options in the rotation. Both McCarthy and Moscoso proved to be valuable additions this year, as the A’s lost both Braden and Brett Anderson for much of the year.
The A’s might be without both Braden and Anderson for some of the 2012 season, with Braden’s status for Opening Day unclear at this point. Anderson, meanwhile, will likely not appear in a game until July, at the earliest.
Considering how Braden started this season, it’s probably safe to assume that he would’ve had another solid season this year if he didn’t get injured. Let’s hope 2012 is a season filled with less injuries and more playing time for Braden.