Oakland’s starting rotation is falling apart
Going into spring training, the Oakland Athletics were planning on having a young, healthy and promising starting rotation. Sonny Gray, Jesse Hahn, Kendall Graveman, Chris Bassitt and Rich Hill were supposed to lead the way, likely in that very order.
The team was even supposed to have plenty of pitching depth, with Felix Doubront being able to pitch as both a long reliever and a starter, and Jarrod Parker and Henderson Alvarez working their way back from injury. Before the season even got started, Parker ended up needing his third and likely career-ending Tommy John surgery.
Of course in life, and in baseball, things don’t always work out the way they’re planned. Parker’s injury wasn’t a huge shock, but Hahn’s loss of command during spring training was. He ended up losing the last spot in the starting rotation to Doubront, who was injured during the spring’s final exhibition game. He was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament that required Tommy John surgery as well.
Down two pitchers, the team didn’t turn to Hahn but to left-hander Eric Surkamp. Surkamp lasted four starts in the big leagues, posting a 5.59 ERA, before being demoted to Triple-A Nashville. The team then opted to bring up rookie Sean Manaea, not Hahn (again), who has now made two mediocre starts, allowing four runs in each game.
The rotation then took another hit as Bassitt, who made 18 appearances and 13 starts for the A’s in 2015 while posting a 3.56 ERA over 86 innings, ended up leaving his sixth start of the season with an injury. Like both Doubront and Parker before him, Bassitt, too, needed Tommy John surgery.
With the exception of Hill, who has pitched very well despite a rocky first outing on Opening Day, the remainder of the rotation – Gray and Graveman – has had concerning outings of late. With its recent failures, the rotation is looking less and less like the one envisioned by the team going into spring training…
For more on Gray, Graveman and what the A’s may or may not be able to do to right the ship before it is too late you can read the rest of my column on Today’s Knuckleball by following the link below: