Oakland A’s need more consistency from Cole Irvin

May 30, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Cole Irvin (19) walks off the field after pitching against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
May 30, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Cole Irvin (19) walks off the field after pitching against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cole Irvin was one of the biggest surprises at the start of the season for the Oakland A’s. After two rough starts against the Astros, Irvin suddenly appeared to be an ace, rattling off five quality starts in six outings. It seemed as though, once again, the A’s had stolen a player for peanuts.

But Irvin has been inconsistent since that impressive run. He has allowed at least four runs in four of his last six starts, although he was able to record a quality start in those other outings. Wednesday’s outing was a prime example – he allowed four runs in the first two innings, then shut down the Angels’ offense the rest of the way.

Cole Irvin has been inconsistent lately for Oakland A’s

The A’s offense had not been able to overcome Irvin’s inconsistency. He had lost four of his last five decisions, and the A’s had lost five of his previous seven outings heading into Wednesday’s game. With their occasional issues scoring runs, they need Irvin to be a steadier presence.

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His inconsistency this season can be seen in his overall numbers. Irvin has posted a 4-7 record with a 3.89 ERA and a 1.259 WHiP in his 81 innings, issuing 14 walks while striking out 56 batters. He is not going to overpower the opposition, instead relying on his sinking fastball to induce grounders.

That type of profile will lead to some inconsistency. Grounders that may be hit right to an infielder one day could find a hole the next time out. While the A’s have a strong defense, particularly at the corners of their infield, the vagrancies of the batted ball can make a major difference in Irvin’s end results.

As it is, the A’s are clearly not expecting that he will be a top of the rotation arm. His profile, at best, is more of a back of the rotation innings eater, someone who can consistently provide six solid innings. That is what they need to see more from when it comes to Irvin.

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The Oakland A’s are not asking for much from Cole Irvin. All they need is for him to be a bit more consistent from start to start.

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