Andrew Triggs, September

Andrew Triggs is proving he’s a better starter than reliever for A’s


Twenty-seven-year-old Andrew Triggs made his fourth big league start for the Oakland Athletics on Monday.

It was his third straight start since being called up from the A’s Triple-A affiliate Nashville Sounds on August 5, which was his eighth time moving between the team’s big league club and the minors. Technically, that’s an Oakland franchise record for most stints in one season.

It hasn’t bothered Triggs too much, being that he hails from Nashville. While having a home in Nashville hasn’t made all the changes easy, it’s made having such a transient life a bit simpler.

Whether he’s moving between Nashville and Oakland or the starting rotation and the bullpen, Triggs has been going non-stop in his rookie season.

It seems that the hardest part for Triggs hasn’t been all the travel from Tennessee to the Bay Area, it’s been moving between the bullpen and the starting rotation.

In his first ten appearances with the A’s, Triggs posted an 8.00 ERA. He pitched all but one of those games out of the bullpen. In his lone start, Triggs allowed only one run.

Beginning with his eleventh big league appearance through Monday night, Triggs has posted a 2.30 ERA over 12 more outings with the big league club. His past three outings have all been starts.   

Triggs has been performing so well as a starter that, in his postgame press conference, A’s skipper Bob Melvin said that Triggs would be remaining a part of the A’s starting rotation likely for the remainder of the season, meaning that this most recent call-up from the minors is likely his last for 2016.

Melvin went on to say,

“You feel for him because he’s such a good soldier about going up and down and appreciates the opportunity he gets. You can’t help but pull for a guy who’s a great team guy and he performed. He’s performing even better in the rotation.”

Melvin was right about Triggs’ performance as a starter this year. His overall season ERA sits at 4.38. His ERA when pitching out of the bullpen is 5.76. His ERA as a starter? It stands at 2.29. He’s pitched 19.2 innings as a starter, in which he has struck out 14 batters, allowing his only walk of the season to Carlos Santana on Monday night.

Santana came back to haunt Triggs again later in the game by scoring the game’s only run, a home run off of the usually-solid relief of Ryan Dull.

The A’s offense simply couldn’t figure out Indian’s starter Carlos Carrasco and Dull ended up taking the loss. Triggs still remains winless this season, having to take a no-decision after his excellent six shutout innings on Monday.

Still, just looking at the statistics from the starts Triggs has made this season, he obviously pitches better as a starter than out of the bullpen. 

The A’s may not be in line for a playoff spot this season, but there are still quite a few games left to play and games that Andrew Triggs will get to start. Depending on how the rest of the season goes, the team may have found yet another candidate for their 2017 starting rotation.

The starting rotation will indeed include Sonny Gray and Kendall Graveman, but there could be spots for pitchers like Triggs or Zach Neal, who have shown that they can pitch well as starters. Triggs has done so more often than Neal this season, however.

Yet both pitchers will likely have their chance to fight rookies Sean Manaea, Dillon Overton and Daniel Mengden for a rotation spot at spring training next year in Mesa.

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