Paul Blackburn showing promising signs early in the season

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Aug 23, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Paul Blackburn (58) catches the ball during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 23, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Paul Blackburn (58) catches the ball during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /
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Although we’re only 19 games into the season, it feels like the Oakland A’s have been playing for months with all the highs and lows so far. We were all nervously anticipating what this team would look like without the core players we knew and loved. Enter Paul Blackburn.

Paul Blackburn is an early and much needed surprise starter.

One sneaky surprise early in this season has been Paul Blackburn. He started the second game of a two-game series against the Giants. In this battle for the Bay, Blackburn went five scoreless innings with four strikeouts. He allowed only three hits and issued one walk.

The righty, originally from the Bay Area, got out of a bases-loaded jam in the third inning. With solid defense behind him, providing a much needed double play, Blackburn went two more without giving up a run. The A’s went on to win, finishing with a score of 1-0.

With barely any run support, Blackburn’s performance brought about a much needed sigh of relief.

Where did Blackburn come from?

Originally picked up by the Cubs in the first round of the 2012 draft, he spent all of his time in the minors. In 2016, he was traded to Seattle, where he floated around in Double A.

Blackburn came over to Oakland in 2016, and didn’t make his debut until July 2017. Interestingly, he was designated for assignment before the 2021 season but was invited to Spring Training, eventually making the Triple-A team before landing in the majors.

What’s in Blackburn’s pitch collection?

Right now, Blackburn has a 1.35 ERA and sits at #3 on the AL ERA leaders list. Watching his outing, he dominated with breaking pitches. According to the A’s manager, “he’s mixing in that breaking ball really well and keeping hitters off-balance.”

On a 1-2 count , he delivered an 80 mph curveball, followed by a huge swing and miss, completely throwing Wilmer Flores off center. He then struck out the last batter with a 92 mph sinker to end the inning.

The big swings and misses continued into his last inning as the curveballs kept firing. It’s exciting to see a guy use an arsenal of breaking pitches in a time where the flash of the fastball dominates.

A’s get a much needed win.

With the total lack of offense, Blackburn’s start was a promising sign and maybe the start of a Cinderella story (if he can continue like this). It will be key to see if he can go further into games to provide much needed rest for the bullpen.

Next. The new face of the A's. dark

Honestly, I recommend rewatching his start if you want to get excited about breaking pitches again.

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