Oakland Athletics Roundup: 24-Hour Flu Hits A’s Clubhouse; Bullpen Could Be a Strength


A’s Clubhouse Struggling to Avoid 24-Hour Flu; Bullpen Pitching Well So Far in 2016
Oakland Athletics Roundup: Wednesday, April 6

The Oakland Athletics are now 0-2, and while no one wants to start the season with a pair of one-run losses at home, there is at least one positive takeaway for the A’s: their bullpen has been pretty phenomenal, considering how much work they’ve had to put in so far.

On Monday, surprise starter Rich Hill went just 2.2 innings, leaving 6.1 innings of work for his teammates. Fernando Rodriguez escaped the third inning without allowing his inherited runner to score despite giving up a hit, then pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning. Both Ryan Dull and Ryan Madson were perfect in their outings. John Axford gave up two hits and Sean Doolittle allowed one, but even they posted scoreless outings. No reliever walked a batter.

Tuesday wasn’t quite as smooth, but it was close until the end. After starter Chris Bassitt lasted 5.1 innings, Liam Hendriks spared the rest of the bullpen with 2.2 innings of perfect baseball. However, the bullpen’s streak of scoreless innings ended when closer Sean Doolittle was handed the loss after he gave up a two-out solo home run to Jimmy Rollins to put the ChiSox up 5-4.

The bullpen has now amassed ten innings of work in just two days, and the Athletics could really use a lengthy start from Sonny Gray on Wednesday. However, this group looks leagues better than the 2015 relief crew, even with Doolittle’s costly mistake. A bullpen will never be perfect; they just need to hold the lead they’re given the majority of the time, and in this minuscule sample size, they’ve done an excellent job of that.

Could the bullpen be the strength of the Oakland Athletics in 2016? It’s certainly too soon to make proclamations like that, but it’s something to keep an eye on at the start of the season.

Editor’s Note: Interested in writing for Swingin’ A’s? Check out the application link above. We are looking for at least two new writers for the 2016 season!

In Case You Missed It

Fans Should Celebrate These Milestone Wins in 2016 – Mark Sigmon looks at a few of the wins that matter most, as the Athletics’ avoid historical worsts and try to hit important milestones. Regardless of your expectations for the upcoming season, be sure to check out these reasons to cheer for the A’s this season.

Andrew Lambo Could Be Key Bench Bat – A look at outfielder Andrew Lambo, who was called up on Monday to fill the roster spot vacated by injured starter Felix Doubront. Lambo might not be with the A’s for long this time, but they would be best served to bring him back to the majors as soon as possible.


Next: A Guide to 2016: Season Predictions

Around the Web

Finding a Reason to Believe in Every American League Team: NBC Sports writer Joe Posnanski wrote up this fun read, which everyone should go check out for themselves. Posnanski has a lot of good reasons to believe in a lot of teams, but for the Athletics, he lacks a true explanation.

One thing that he does point out is that the Athletics have built their franchise upon “Moneyball” in recent decades, and in order for Moneyball to be successful, the A’s have to stay ahead of the curve. That means that whatever “inefficiency” they’re currently chasing isn’t necessarily going to be obvious to fans, writers or other teams. Now, that doesn’t mean the Athletics are going to win 100 games and blow everyone away – but it does give a bit of hope to the idea that Oakland won’t be as bad as everyone expects this season.