Twice in the last four games the Oakland starting pitcher hasn’t made it to the fifth inning.
The last time Wednesday’s A’s starter, Bartolo Colon, pitched in Cincinnati, he gave up four home runs.
But there is no kidding that Wednesday’s start for Colon is a big one. He has thrown at least six innings and given up three or fewer runs in each of his last 15 starts. With the A’s offense on the rails, it figures that Colon is going to have to pitch to that standard for the A’s to come out of this series with a split.
It’s not clear what the immediate future is for Oakland’s Tuesday starter, Dan Straily. He began the season with a splash, but he’s lost his last four starts, three of them by going fewer than five innings.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said that Tuesday’s game was an aberration in that Straily only came out of the game because the game was in a National League park, and without a designated hitter, the A’s needed a bat in the fifth inning with a man on base down 2-0.
“(Pitching coach) Curt Young came out and said if it was an American League game you’d go right back out there (for the fifth inning),’’ Straily said of his four-inning, two-run performance.’’
The question now is if Straily makes his next start. After getting off to a 6-2 start he has yet to win in the second half, giving him four of the A’s nine losses since the All-Star break.
Brett Anderson, who was scheduled to throw in a simulated game Tuesday in Stockton, isn’t going to be back in the next few days. However, Sonny Gray is 10-7 with a 3.42 ERA and didn’t give up a run in two relief appearances with the A’s in July.
There is probably better than a 50-50 chance that Straily makes his next start. But it is also not out of the question that the A’s might be considering bringing Gray back. He could make a couple of starts, then move into the bullpen once Anderson is healthy enough to rejoin the rotation.
Either way, Gray is almost certainly going to be in the A’s bullpen before the month is over. It could be that he’ll get a jump on his return by getting a couple of starts.