Oakland A’s pitcher Jarrod Parker’s spring struggles continued on Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies giving up an uncharacteristic three home runs in less than five innings pitched. It was his final start of the spring.
Parker burst onto the Major League scene last season with Oakland after being acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Trevor Cahill deal. Parker was seen as the centerpiece of the trade and he did not disappoint in 2012. However, possibly due to over work or lack of feel for his pitches Parker struggled mightily in Phoenix in 2013 and this could lead some A’s fans to be concerned.
Fear not Green and Gold faithful. As Parker recently mentioned in an interview with mlb.com’s Jane Lee, “I don’t know if I’ve ever had a great spring, so I don’t want to fall into that routine, but it’s great to be able to work on things and not feel like every time out is a test and you’re trying to make the team.”
This may not seem like major news, but there is more to it than what meets the eye. Parker mentions he has never really had a good spring. After how he pitched last season a bad spring should not be critiqued. That should bring relief to all A’s fans. On top of that Parker said he feels like he can work on things [during games] such as his grips and locations. This will help him out during the season because he will have his adjustments from last season down before the season begins. Last season Parker’s struggles in Phoenix led him to start the season at Triple-A Sacramento.
Even though Parker threw more innings last season than ever before in his career he feels poised and ready to pitch the Tuesday night game of the season opening series against the Seattle Mariners in Oakland. Knowing that his roster spot is secured has to be a major relief to a pitcher going into his sophomore campaign for the defending AL West champions.
Parker will feel a lot of pressure this season to duplicate or even expand upon the success of last season. Oakland is counting on Parker to win at least 15 games and go 200 plus innings with an ERA around 3.00. He will need to make quick adjustments between starts to stay sharp as well as stay healthy all season. If he can do this a bad spring will be nothing but a blip on the radar for the ace-in-the-making of the A’s pitching staff.