Pat Venditte said he wasn’t willing to say that Saturday three perfect innings of relief was it for his 2015 season in which he became the first full-time switch pitcher in baseball history.
He held out hope that he would be available for Sunday’s season finale with the Mariners.
A’s manager Bob Melvin saw it a little differently. The manager seems content that in picking up his second big league win, Venditte had perfectly punctuated his rise from obscurity in the minor leagues to big league reliever.
“As a confidence factor for him, having an outing like that to end the season goes a long way,’’ Melvin said. “It’s a little feather in his cap to end the season like he did.’’
After a seven-year career in the minor leagues, Venditte, who pitched the 10th, 11th and 12th innings of a 5-5 tie, will now head into his first winter in which he’ll be a known big league commodity.
“I’m not ready to assume that’s my last game just yet,’’ Venditte said. “But it was nice to go out and give the guys a chance to win. You know the game is over if you are not making pitches. It’s your job to go out and give the offense a chance, and however long that was going to be, that was my goal.
“I’ve had some ups and downs this year, and you always want to finish strong. That’s been my goal here the last couple of weeks.’’
Venditte set up five times left-handed and four times right-handed Saturday. He’d been better as a left-hander, but this time it didn’t seem to matter.
“He’s had more left-handed opportunities,’’ Melvin said. “It’s good to see him have more success right-handed, because he’s been more behind the curve right-handed.’’
His catcher, Stephen Vogt, noticed the difference.
“That was as good as he’s been since he’s been here,’’ Vogt said. “He was equally as good righty as lefty. One of the highlights for me was the way he turned around (switch-hitter Shawn) O’Malley right-on-left. He was executing pitches tonight. It was fun to watch.’’
–Melvin said he has a rooting interest in the American League MVP race, which seems to be a two-man battle between the Angels’ Mike Trout and the Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson. Melvin said ex-A’s third baseman Donaldson is his guy. “I’m pulling for him,’’ Melvin said. “He’s had a great year. All the numbers, whether it’s the traditional numbers or the analytical numbers; he’s at the forefront. I don’t know that there’s a guy who deserves it more than he does.
–Barry Zito was available to pitch in relief Sunday. Melvin said he it “crossed my mind’’ to use Zito to close out in the 13-inning game Saturday because Sean Doolittle and Ryan Dull weren’t available. Both were available for the Sunday finale. “I don’t want to get (Zito) in there just to get him in there,’’
–Max Muncy is the only active A’s player to be sure to play winter ball; he’ll be off to play some second base in Guadalajara. There is a chance that Tyler Ladendorf will head out for some winter baseball, too, but that’s undecided.