Oakland Athletics: The Starting Rotation Is Failing

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 1: Starting pitcher Sean Manaea
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 1: Starting pitcher Sean Manaea /

The Oakland Athletics once boasted plenty of pitching depth, but injuries derailed the team early in April. The A’s completed their recent road trip by going winless (0-6) thanks to lackluster pitching.

The Oakland Athletics completed their recent road trip without a single win.

Bob Melvin and his team were swept in Anaheim and in Seattle over the weekend. The A’s went 0-6 during their trip and are simply struggling to finish the year.

Injuries have derailed the A’s this year and their starting rotation has been tested throughout the season. The A’s once boasted plenty of pitching depth, but their current staff is depleted. Melvin has been active in calling upon his relievers earlier in games as a result of the depleted starting rotation.

Where’s The Ace?

Neither Kendall Graveman or Sean Manaea have stepped up in Sonny Gray‘s absence. The A’s parted ways with Gray in July in a trade that cemented the A’s status as a rebuilding franchise.

Gray’s absence has created a large void in Oakland’s rotation and it has taken quite the toll on the team’s staff. Aside from Graveman and Manaea, the A’s do not appear to have any qualified candidates to take over the rotation’s top spot.

Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics /

Oakland Athletics

Jharel Cotton (7-10, 5.53 ERA) has shown flashes of brilliance, but has been an inconsistent option throughout the season. Daniel Gossett (3-8, 5.32 ERA) has been equally disappointing and has had difficulty with keeping the ball in the yard. In 69.1 innings of work this year, Gossett has given up a total of 13 home runs.

Beyond Cotton and Gossett, the A’s have relied upon Chris Smith and Paul Blackburn to help anchor the rotation. Smith (0-4, 6.27 ERA) had a decent start with Oakland but has been hit hard lately.

Meanwhile, Blackburn (3-1, 3.22 ERA) will miss the remainder of the season. He enjoyed plenty of success throughout his short stint with the A’s and should be a contender for a roster spot in the spring.

Where Do We Go From Here?

As it sits right now, though, the A’s are struggling to finish the season with their current staff. The youth movement has been a mixed bag this year and the A’s will have plenty of questions to address in the offseason.

The question at the top of our list is who will step up and help anchor the rotation? Graveman and Manaea are the obvious choices, but the A’s have yet to see any significant improvement from either of them.

Cotton boasts tremendous upside, but needs to demonstrate better control. Like Gossett, Cotton has struggled with the long ball (24 HR given up this year) and will need to work on his command.

Chris Bassitt should remain an option for the A’s heading into 2018. Bassitt returned from Tommy John Surgery and has spent time in Triple-A with the Nashville Sounds.

Next: A's September Call-Ups