The Oakland Athletics will use Ken Waldichuk to open the series against the Cleveland Guardians on the first game on Tuesday before he makes way to Luis Media a few outs into the matchup.
It's the first time since last Tuesday that the A's will use an opener to get things going. The last time they used the strategy, Shintaro Fujinami and Hogan Harris (along with closer Trevor May) earned Oakland their last win of the season before the A's entered their ongoing five-game losing streak.
Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reported the news late Monday, making it clear that Luis Medina will be the virtual starter to replace Waldichuk off the bullpen once Ken's short opening stint is over, most probably after just one or two innings of pitching.
This will be Waldichuk's first opening stint since he already paved the way for Luis Medina starting a game against the Houston Astros back on May 28, pitching one inning while allowing one hit and one run and striking out two before Medina took over to go through 5.1 innings then and there.
25-year-old Waldichuk, a natural lefty, holds a 6.64 ERA on the season, but he's been much better as of late with a 2.00 ERA through nine innings since the start of June.
Waldichuk picked up his first career save on Monday, June 12, against the Rays. He allowed two hits and recorded five strikeouts over three scoreless innings. He did not walk a single Rays' batter on the day, denying them any free bases.
Medina last pitched on Wednesday, June 15, dropping to a 1-6 record through the season following a 6-3 loss to the Rays after allowing four runs, eight hits, and walking one batter through 4.2 innings pitched. In the positive column, Medina struck out five men, something he had already done twice before this season as the starting pitcher (six strikeouts in two different games, one in April and one in May).
Medina has yet to pitch for more than six full innings with his last outing as a starter getting halted at 4.2 innings pitched. The 24-year-old has allowed at least three runs in all but one of his eight MLB games this season on his way to his 1-6 record while boasting a rather ugly 7.55 ERA to date.