By John Hickey
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 at 5:48 pm in 2013 regular season.
The last time the A’s Jarrod Parker lost a game, Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger seemed like a good idea, Kurt Suzuki was playing for the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants were tied for first place in the National League West.
The Lone Ranger is Hollywood’s flop of the year, the Giants are dead last in the NL West and Suzuki is now back in an Oakland uniform.
Yes, time flies and things change when you are a Major League pitcher with a string of 16 consecutive starts without a loss.
Parker has divided those 16 starts into eight wins and eight-no decisions, and the deeper Oakland gets into the season, the more significant a player Parker seems in the American League West drama.
He’s won four of his last five starts, and he’s gone at least eight innings in the last three.
Suzuki, back with the A’s after a trade this week brought him in to shore up the oft-injured A’s catching corps, was impressed in the pitcher that he handled often last year, Parker’s rookie season.
“I was impressed with his maturity even last year,’’ Suzuki said. “Now it seems like he was able to slow the game down when he wants to.
“He can get deep into games because he’ll let hitters get themselves out. He had a good two-seamer, four-seamer and change and slider. And we didn’t even break out his secret weapon.’’
And then he laughed. Suzuki has long had a way of bringing a light touch to the Oakland clubhouse.
As for his first game back in an A’s uniform, Suzuki said he had jitters, but after getting his first hit, a double, and scoring his first run, he said he’s feeling at the top of his game.
Parker was delighted for the chance to work with Suzuki again, but he’s been pitching well whether the catcher has been John Jaso, Derek Norris, (both on the disabled list) or Stephen Vogt (the other healthy catcher other than Suzuki).
“He was dominant today,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “That’s as good as he’s pitched. And as for Kurt, it was like he never left.’’