After a 6-3 comeback victory on Sunday, the Oakland Athletics may only find themselves at .500 with a 3-3 record after the first full week of the season, but they can’t fault its starting pitchers.
The 1.70 ERA by the five starters, counting Josh Lindblom who was brought up from AAA for the start of Game Two in Wednesday’s doubleheader to make up for the rain-out, is impressive. (Removing Lindblom’s two runs over his 4.2 innings, the ERA of the permanent starting four, stands at an astounding 1.4.) Even in light of its three losses, the A’s were always in the game and each of the three losses were only by two runs.
Over his last two starts, Sonny Gray continues his 2013 surprise with only allowing, one earned run on six hits with two walks in six innings, striking out three, on Sunday and throwing six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and three walks in a 105-pitch opener.
Scott Kazmir, acquired as a free-agent last winter, began his first season with the A’s in remarkable fashion, tossing 7.1 shutout innings and striking out five batters, in a three-hit, zero-walk performance in a win over his former team, the Indians, in the first game on Wednesday.
Jesse Chavez, a late appointment to the rotation after injuries to A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker, showed he is well-deserved of a Number Five starting position pitching six-innings, surrendering six sprinkled hits and giving up only one earned run against the Mariners on Thursday.
Dan Straily took the starting rotation’s only loss with a marginal Saturday start where he was stricken with two long balls by the Mariners. Additionally, the A’s did little for run support as they were stifled by Mariner’s starter Felix Hernandez who struck out eight and didn’t allow the A’s first and only run until the ninth inning.
To Straily’s credit, he came out strong, striking out seven in the first four innings but faltered in the fifth when the Mariners jumped all over him for four extra-base hits, including a two-run homer to right by Dustin Ackley and a solo shot by Abraham Almonte.
This young group is proving itself pretty good on the upside. Athletics’ pitching has always been its strong point in the pursuit of a winning season especially at the pitcher-friendly Coliseum.
Going into the nine-game road trip, fans should expect the dominance to continue as A’s bats and a certain bullpen closer come into form.