Sonny Gray Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Coming into the season, the Oakland Athletics had major questions surrounding their rotation. Most involved the injuries to Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin and whether or not the rotation would be able to carry the Athletics to another division title.
Well the answer so far is, yes they can. They have been outstanding, and the team would probably be 7-2 or 8-1 if it wasn’t for a few bad outings from Jim Johnson. The rotation has done a perfect job of keeping the team in the game. In fact, the Oakland Athletics are the only team in the majors to have quality starts for every game played so far. For those who don’t know what a quality start is, it is a start in which the pitcher goes at least 6 innings and allows no more than 3 runs.
This pitching overall is excellent, ranked high in some categories. For example, they have a team ERA of 2.30, good for 3rd in the majors. They are 5th in WHIP with 1.13, and 3rd in BAA (batting average against) with a BAA of .206. They are 27th in Earned Runs Allowed, which is actually a good thing. It means they have allowed the 4th least amount of earned runs with 22. That includes the bullpen, specifically Jim Johnson.
All of the rotation pitchers combine for an ERA of 1.73. Gray leads the pack as the ace with the lowest ERA, 0.75. Straily redeemed himself well, allowing only 1 run in 7 innings after allowing 3 in 6 innings against the Mariners last week. Chavez has done an excellent job, although let’s hope it doesn’t become a trend to where every time he starts the Athletics go into extra innings. His first time starting with the Athletics, it went into extra innings, which the A’s won in 12. The second start on Wednesday against the Twins went 11 innings, in which Norris saved the day with a 3 run shot.
Overall, this rotation is spectacular. We have yet to see Milone in action, but Straily and Chavez are off to great starts, and this rotation is looking really solid and really strong. So why are they the best rotation? Because they suffered two key losses, and yet they managed to provide 9 straight quality starts, and they would have this team at 7-2 or 8-1 record if not for the blown saves. Beane did a great job of forming a roster with depth other teams can only dream of. The Oakland Athletics are proving the naysayers wrong yet again, but that’s nothing new. This team loves to do that.