There are times when it just doesn’t seem to matter who A’s manager Bob Melvin throws out on the mound as his starting pitcher.
Tuesday night was another one of those nights, in what is becoming a season-long case study. This time it was Drew Pomeranz, who pitched five scoreless innings for the second time in as many starts, in a starring role as the A’s beat the Chicago White Sox 11-0 at the Coliseum
“We feed off of each other,” Pomeranz said. “When the team plays well, when guys pitch well, you want to pitch well for your team and keep it going. You don’t want to be the guy that doesn’t pitch well.”
Pomeranz gave Melvin just what Melvin hoped for: at least five strong innings and putting the A’s in a position to win their sixth straight game.
That Pomeranz sparkled once again shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Solid outings are becoming a familiar sight in these parts, regardless who is on the mound.
The A’s lost starters Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin for the season with throwing-arm injuries. Pomeranz replaced Dan Straily in the rotation after the A’s sent Straily to Triple-A Sacramento.
Yeah, so what. Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chavez have pitched well in place of Parker and Griffin. Pomeranz is falling right in line, as expected, by an A’s team that churns out productive starters as if they have the patent.
“That’s the way this team is built,” shortstop Jed Lowrie said. “With depth. So, when it becomes an advantage, when it comes into play, it works to our advantage, because we can throw guys out there and trust that they’re going to be able to give us a chance to win.”
A’s starters are 5-0 with a 1.13 ERA in their past six starts, a run that started with Pomeranz’ spot start against the Seattle Mariners on May 7.
In that game, Pomeranz allowed two hits and struck out five. He allowed three hits and two walks Tuesday. He also struck out eight, including three each in the first and fifth innings, before he got yanked because he reached his pitch limit.
“That’s a tough lineup to navigate through, all right-handed hitters, all guys with power,” Melvin said.
Pomeranz breezed through most of his five innings. He allowed one base runner in the second through fourth innings but managed to escape without further difficulty.
Melvin said before the game that he hoped to give Pomeranz a bit of a longer leash, perhaps in the 80-85 pitch range. Pomeranz got yanked after five innings and 68 pitches in his first start.
Pomeranz labored a bit in the fifth and used up his allotment of pitches before he extinguished the White Sox most promising threat.
Pomeranz’ final pitch of the night, his 82nd, resulted in a strikeout of leadoff hitter Marcus Semien for his eighth strikeout of the game. That stranded two runners, with the A’s clinging to a 2-0 lead.
Brandon Moss staked the A’s to a 1-0 lead with a two-out, run-scoring double in the first inning. He added a pair of two run home runs, both traveling well over 400 feet, and helped turn the game into a rout.
“Those kind of nights are fun,” Moss said. “They’re fun for everybody on our team, obviously. Guys are going up there having good at-bats, grinding out at-bats early.”
– Center fielder Coco Crisp wasn’t in the starting lineup Tuesday for the sixth consecutive game. He still is recovering from whiplash-like symptoms after crashing into the outfield wall last Wednesday.
He appears fine batting-wise, as evidenced by his hitting back-to-back pitches into the right-field seats. He then lined one off the top of the right-field wall.
Melvin said it’s doubtful that Crisp will play Wednesday, either. He is hopeful that Crisp will be available for the A’s upcoming series against the Cleveland Indians.
– Pomeranz lasted no more than five innings in any of his past 18 starts. That is the longest such streak in the majors since at least 1914.
– The A’s entered play Tuesday night with a 3 ½ game lead over the Mariners in the American League West. That marked the first time since 1992 that the A’s led by more than three games before the All-Star break.