When the news that Jarrod Parker was going to undergo Tommy John surgery and that A.J. Griffin would be shut down for a few weeks with elbow tendinitis earlier this month many people around the baseball world began to question whether or not the A’s could make a serious run at the playoffs. The one response that GM Billy Beane and Manager Bob Melvin continued to mention was pitching depth. One piece of that pitching depth was on display tonight in the way of Jesse Chavez.
Chavez came over to the A’s after they purchased his contract from the Toronto Blue Jays in August of 2012. He had never really panned out to that point with his best season coming back in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a reliever where he threw 67.1 IP with an ERA of 4.01. Last season Chavez regained that form as a spot starter and reliever throwing 57.1 IP with a 3.92 ERA. He also had one of the more impressive pitching performances for the A’s against the New York Yankees in an 18 inning game finishing with a line of 5.2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, and 7 K’s in relief giving up 0 runs.
Chavez started tonight in the exhibition game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco. He finished with a similar line to the Yankees game going 5.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, and 4 K’s giving up 0 runs. His fastball was pinpoint and his curve ball was nearly unhittable. In fact, he pitched so well that Melvin took him out because he needed to get other pitchers work. Chavez had not hit his set pitch count for the night yet so he finished up with a side bullpen.
The way that Chavez pitched not only tonight but the entire spring should ease A’s fans minds. Obviously you cannot look too far into good springs, but this is a case where Chavez looks the part of a solid starting pitcher. If A’s pitching coach Curt Young can continue to work with Chavez to refine him the rotation will be in solid shape even without Parker and Griffin.
Beane quietly has added a ton of starting pitching depth over the past couple of seasons in Chavez, Lindblom, Pomeranz, Werner, etc. Even with the devastating injury news surrounding Parker the A’s are in good shape especially with the way Chavez is throwing.