Coors Field may not be the launching pad it was years ago, but it is still an unforgiving place for pitchers. It is still an intimidating place, especially for young pitchers making their first appearance in Colorado. That is what Oakland A’s pitcher James Kaprielian faced in his start on Sunday against the Rockies.
Kaprielian had been solid up until that point. He had posted a 2.95 ERA and a 1.125 WHiP over his 21.1 innings, issuing nine walks while striking out 22 batters. But Colorado is a different animal to tame.
James Kaprielian has solid outing in first appearance at Coors Field
Although the A’s lost 3-1 on Sunday, Kaprielian did as well as one could have hoped for. He allowed just two runs on five hits and three walks in his five innings, striking out six. While it may not have been the most effective start, he was able to grind out those five innings to help rest the A’s bullpen.
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Kaprielian was able to adjust throughout his outing. He relied heavily on his fastball instead of using his breaking stuff, realizing that his breaking stuff did not have the same movement in the higher altitude. That adjustment worked well, as he was able to fool the Rockies’ lineup with the fastball.
It is also another step forward for his development. The A’s moved Jesus Luzardo to the bullpen so that they could get a better sense of what they have in Kaprielian. He had pitched well while Luzardo was on the Injured List, so it made sense to give him an extended look. Pitching in places such as Colorado will help with that assessment.
There had been a time when Kaprielian was regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in the game. Before injuries set his development back, he was expected to be a solid middle of the rotation arm, someone that a team could build around. Now that he is healthy, he is starting to build on that potential.
James Kaprielian had to battle to get through five innings at Coors Field. That is the type of outing that shows what type of pitcher the Oakland A’s have.