Ken Waldichuk hints at promise in Oakland A’s debut

Sep 1, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Ken Waldichuk (64) throws to the Washington Nationals during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 1, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Ken Waldichuk (64) throws to the Washington Nationals during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ken Waldichuk may not have had the prettiest stat line, but he showed the Oakland A’s why they should be excited about the future.

Waldichuk navigated through some trouble throughout the game, finishing one out shy of qualifying for the win. He allowed one run on five hits and four walks over his 4.2 innings, striking out six batters. While he had plenty of traffic on the bases, it was not a terrible start to his career.

Ken Waldichuk shows why Oakland A’s could have next ace

This outing could have been much worse. Waldichuk allowed his run before recording an out, giving up a double and an RBI single. After a strikeout, another single put runners at the corners before he escaped the jam. He found himself in another jam in the bottom of the second, allowing a leadoff triple, but was able to strand the runner with a pair of strikeouts and a grounder to third.

The traffic kept coming. Waldichuk allowed the first two batters of the third to reach, eventually loading the bases with two out, before escaping again. After a clean fourth inning, he retired the first two batters of the fifth before a pair of walks ended his debut.

There were reasons for encouragement. He showed plenty of swing and miss stuff during his outing, with 15 swinging strikes in his 93 pitches. His command may not have been as sharp as either he or the A’s would have wanted, but he was still able to get those key strikeouts when he needed them.

As good of a start as it may have been, the A’s are going to want to see more in the coming weeks. He will need to show some improvement with his command and an ability to avoid having so much traffic on the bases. However, now that his debut is out of the way and the nerves are not there, it is reasonable to expect improvement in his next outing.

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Ken Waldichuk showed plenty of promise during his debut on Thursday. Now it is a matter of taking those next steps forward.

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