Cole Irvin not giving up rotation spot without a fight
By David Hill
Cole Irvin was not supposed to be a part of the Oakland A’s starting rotation. He was, at best, expected to be a minor league depth piece, someone that would be called upon only in case of an extreme emergency. Irvin was behind the A’s five main starters, several prospects, and A.J. Puk, although his role was more in question.
Instead, Irvin was a surprise addition to the Opening Day roster, earning the fifth starter spot. He certainly deserved it based on his performance in spring training, allowing just two runs on ten hits and three walks in 18 innings, striking out 18 batters. However, with his less than stellar major league track record, one had to wonder how he would perform once the calendar turned to April.
Cole Irvin refusing to give up rotation spot without a fight
Irvin had a slow start to the season, looking every bit the mediocre pitcher he had been before heading to Oakland. His 7.45 ERA and 1.448 WHiP in 9.2 innings over his first two starts hardly inspired confidence. Then he got to face a team other than Houston.
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Once the Astros were off the docket, Irvin became a completely different pitcher. He seems far more confident, as though he believes that he belongs at the major league level. Irvin has posted a 1.56 ERA and a 1.212 WHiP in his 17.1 innings since, striking out 20 batters with just two walks. He finally looks like he can be a viable major league option.
But now, there are questions about the A’s rotation. Mike Fiers is back, and is making his first start of the season on Friday. While Oakland is temporarily moving to a six man rotation to get the starters an extra day of rest with 17 games in 17 days, the rotation will eventually be shaken up. Roles, and where the pitcher’s slot, may change.
For Irvin, it is a chance to solidify his hold on his spot in the rotation. With the way he has pitched lately, he has been far more than a back of the rotation arm. He has been a solid option, one that could emerge as a factor in the middle of the A’s rotation. Maybe all he needed was a real chance.
Cole Irvin has gotten the opportunity that he has waited for. The Oakland A’s pitcher has no intention of letting his spot in the rotation slip away.