The Oakland A’s desperately needed Cole Irvin to pitch deep into Sunday’s game. The bullpen has been overworked lately, resulting in several late game meltdowns over the past few days. Those issues have affected the A’s in the standings, as the Astros have surged ahead for the AL West lead.
That was the situation that Irvin found himself in on Sunday. He had pitched into the seventh inning only three times in his 15 previous outings, but he was asked to last as long as possible to save the A’s bullpen.
Cole Irvin gives Oakland A’s just what they needed
Irvin did exactly what the A’s needed. He pitched eight shutout innings, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out eight batters. Not only was it his best start of the season, but the outing allowed the A’s to salvage one game in their three game set against the Giants.
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For Irvin, this was another step in the right direction. The A’s have won all of his starts in June, going 5-0 in those outings. As Oakland finds themselves in a dogfight with the Astros for the lead in the AL West, getting every victory possible will make a difference. Irvin has been a difference maker at this point.
The A’s and Irvin both needed this outing. He had struggled a bit in May, leading to the thought that the league had caught up with him. He had also struggled in his two previous outings, allowing eight runs, seven earned, on 16 hits and three walks in just 10.2 innings.
However, this outing gives hope that those struggles may be behind him. This is the most he has pitched in the majors over his career, and he will need to adjust as the league begins to figure him out. Those adjustments will determine his overall success, not just this season, but going forward. Thus far, he is doing well.
The Oakland A’s needed Cole Irvin to pitch deep into Sunday’s game in order to save their bullpen. He gave them exactly what they wanted.