The A’s have spent the last couple of years trying to see if Drew Pomeranz was a fit in their rotation.
They may spend the final seven weeks of the season seeing if he has what it takes to close.
Pomeranz picked up his second save in three tries Wednesday by throwing a perfect ninth inning to preserve Jesse Chavez’s 5-2 over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Asked if Pomeranz was going to be his closer, A’s manager Bob Melvin said only “he was today.’’
To be clear, it was a situation that screamed for a left-hander, and Pomeranz is the best the A’s have. The Dodgers’ first two batters of the ninth inning were left-handers who were not going to be lifted for pinch-hitters, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. They both flew out before Justin Turner popped out.
Oakland has been without a closer since Tyler Clippard was traded, and Clippard was a setup man pretending to be a closer with Sean Doolittle on the disabled list for all but one game this season.
Doolittle could come back to the A’s after rehab games with Nashville Wednesday and Friday. Whenever he does return, it would be unfair for him to be thrust into closing right away. After essentially a year off and without any spring training to speak of, Doolittle’s arm may not be up to the task of closing.
After the Clippard trade, Melvin said he would go with Edward Mujica as his closer, but the right-hander, added in May in a cash deal with the Red Sox, hasn’t been the same since fracturing his thumb on May 21. He came back on from the disabled list on June 18, and ever since he is 0-3 with one save in three tries and a 7.41 ERA.
Pomeranz had a 4.63 ERA as a starter, went on the DL with a sprained left AC joint and returned as a reliever. He’s ERA is 2.17, his WHIP is 1.000 and in his last eight games he’s allowed just one run.
Melvin would have little to lose in using the left-handed Pomeranz to close, although Pomeranz isn’t pushing for the job.
“Closing is fine. I like pitching,’’ he said. “I like being in the game and helping us win. That’s what it’s all about. I enjoy being involved. I enjoy picking up my teammates. You want to win those games for those guys.’’
Is there a role change for Pomeranz? He’s not sure.
“I don’t know,’’ he said. “There were two lefties leading off. It’s probably that’s simple. Who knows what will happen?’’
One thing Melvin has stressed throughout his tenure as manager is that success breeds opportunity. Right now it seems that Pomeranz as closer might give the A’s their best chance to win.