With Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle out of Oakland, Bob Melvin’s starters will need to help save the bullpen.
The Oakland Athletics have had problems with their bullpen all year. Those glaring problems will only intensify now that Madson and Doolittle have left Oakland.
Melvin will likely rely on his starters a bit more as we march on through the second half. The A’s are expected, however, to continue their massive rebuild over the next few days. The rotation will likely take a hit when the A’s decided to finally trade Sonny Gray this month.
Gray’s name has come up in trade rumors all season-long, but talks of dealing the ace have intensified this week. Gray’s departure would leave the A’s starting staff without a clear leader and would further complicate Melvin’s job.
Sean Manaea could step up and be the A’s ace, but the rotation would lack serious depth if and when Gray is traded. The rotation has been hit hard by injuries, but the team is hopeful that starters Kendall Graveman and Jharel Cotton can return soon.
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Until then, the A’s will have to get the most out of Manaea, Daniel Gossett and Paul Blackburn. The A’s did acquire Blake Treinen in the deal that sent Madson and Doolittle to Washington and there’s hope he could contribute immediately.
Treinen (0-2, 5.73 ERA) has had his share of struggles this year, but the A’s are hopeful that a change of scenery will help Treinen. The A’s will also keep their fingers crossed that Ryan Dull (2-2, 6.32 ERA) will return soon from his stint on the disabled-list.
Not Many Options
Despite the recent youth movement, the A’s have stuck with Santiago Casilla in the closer role. Casilla has been better in July (1.59 ERA), but has yet to eliminate the sense of drama that surrounds him whenever he pitches in the ninth inning.
Aside from Casilla, the A’s have John Axford, Liam Hendricks, Zach Neal, Michael Brady, Daniel Coulombe and Simon Castro. Of the bunch mentioned, Coulombe has been the most impressive this year.
Coulombe has gone 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 32 innings of work. Axford and Hendricks have been rocky at best and the trio of Neal-Brady-Castro has not been much better.
The A’s received strong starting pitching over their weekend sweep of the Indians and that trend will need to continue if the A’s wish to escape last place.