It has been made obvious for the Oakland Athletics that the back end of the rotation is definitely not as reliable as the front end. Almost every game that Dan Straily and Tommy Milone have taken the mound, the Athletics have lost. Their combined ERA is over 5. Then you look at Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, and Jesse Chavez.
Sonny Gray has an ERA of 1.91, Kazmir an ERA of 2.11, and Chavez an ERA of 1.89. The Athletics have an 11-1 record when the first three rotation starters take the mound. To only have 1 loss in an entire month between those three is more than impressive.
But the Athletics need more. They need pitchers who can pitch well in the 4th and 5th spots. So what should Oakland do? The Opportunity is there to stretch out Drew Pomeranz, which I think would be wise. The team needs a solid pitcher, and Pomeranz may not be a star, but he is an upgrade over Straily or Milone.
There is, however, hope for a turn around for one of the two. Whichever sticks around should there be a change, can still pitch well. Why do I say this? Because of Jarrod Parker.
Last season, Jarrod Parker had a horrible start to the season. Many wanted him along with Brett Anderson replaced in the rotation. But after an April in which Parker posted an ERA over 5, he made an outstanding turnaround and went on a tear, where he went undefeated in 19 consecutive starts.
We’ve seen how well both Straily and Milone can pitch. Milone was excellent back in 2012, and Straily had flashes of brilliance in 2013, such as when he outdueled Yu Darvish in a game the Athletics won 1-0. It is very possible that one of these two can do that exact same thing and begin to go on a hot streak. The first month of the season is still early, and there is still room for improvement, especially with an outstanding coaching staff.
Ultimately, the best move would be to replace Straily with Pomeranz, give Milone a chance in May, and if there is still no improvement, then they should begin to look for a trade to add to the rotation.
No need to hit the panic button folks, we have an amazing front of the rotation in the first 3 starters. There are solutions to the back end of the rotation, and with improvements there, the Athletics will only get even better. And if they were that good achieving an 18-10 record with that many problems, imagine the possibilities when the fix them.