Oakland A’s: Chris Bassitt likely the second starter in playoffs
By David Hill
The Oakland A’s may be getting their rotation lined up for the playoffs, with Chris Bassitt appeared to be slotted as the second starter.
With the Oakland A’s having already clinched the American League West, there is seemingly nothing left to play for. The final few days are a perfect time to rest players and to line up their starters for the postseason. With three possible candidates to take the ball for Game One of the playoffs, the A’s have a prime opportunity to line everyone up.
If that is the case, it appears as though their starter for Game Two is set. Chris Bassitt is slated to start on Friday, which would put him in line for the second game of the first round.
Bassitt has been the A’s best starter this season. Forced into the rotation due to A.J. Puk‘s ongoing injury issues, he has responded better than anyone could have hoped. In his 56 innings this season, he has posted a 2.57 ERA and a 1.214 WHiP, striking out 49 batters with 17 walks.
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He has also pitched relatively well against the Astros, the A’s presumed first round opponent. In his 17 innings against Houston, Bassitt has allowed five runs on 16 hits and six walks striking out nine. Although he may not overpower anyone, Bassitt has done a solid job of keeping the ball in the park and generating weaker contact.
The results belie Bassitt’s metrics. He is in the bottom half of the game in terms of exit velocity and hard hit percentage. His spin rates on both his fastball and curve are in the lower quarter of baseball. And he ranks in the 14th percentile in terms of whiff percentage.
Yet, the fact remains that Bassitt has been one of the A’s most consistent starters this year. He has allowed more than three earned runs just twice this season. Bassitt has also gotten hot at the right time, with just one run allowed in his last 19.2 innings. For a pitcher that was not expected to have a major role heading into spring training, he has been a revelation.
Chris Bassitt appears to be lined up as the Oakland A’s second starter for the postseason. Given his performance this season, that role is well deserved.