MLB Team Report - Oakland Athletics - INSIDE PITCH
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Injuries and a key defection to the starting pitching staff were the stories for the first month of the season for the Oakland Athletics.
Lost from 2013 were 44 victories and almost 600 innings pitched.
But season-ending elbow injuries to Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin and the free-agent defection of Bartolo Colon haven't seemed to have any effect on the team.
That's the A's. They breed guys who can pitch.
The triumvirate of Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chavez has combined to go 10-2 with a 1.92 ERA in the first month.
"We felt like we had the guys to fill in," manager Bob Melvin said, "but, no, you look at the numbers from the starting pitching ... I wouldn't say it's surprising but it's been unbelievable.
"It feels like they all feed off each other and push each other and motivate each other."
A few guys -- such as Chavez, who put the clamps on Texas by pitching seven innings of one-hit baseball Wednesday -- have taken their opportunities and run.
"In particular Jesse," Melvin said. "He's done a great job."
MLB Team Report - Oakland Athletics - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Won three
NEXT: Athletics (RHP Dan Straily, 1-1, 5.14 ERA) at Red Sox (RHP Clay Buchholz, 2-2, 6.66 ERA)
--DH Yoenis Cespedes is 3-for-5 with two doubles, two walks and five runs scored in two games since returning from a hamstring injury. His two-run double on Wednesday was the key blow in the Athletics' seven-run third inning of a 12-1 victory over Texas. "That was the biggest at-bat of the game," said manager Bob Melvin, whose team improved to 16-7 with Cespedes in the lineup. Oakland is 2-3 without him. Cespedes improved his average to .258.
--C Derek Norris can merely be contained at this point of the season. The backup, who plays primarily only against left-handers, tied a career high with three hits in five at-bats and an RBI in a 12-1 victory over Texas on Wednesday. Over a 10-game stretch, the catcher with the big beard is hitting .500 (16-for-32) and has raised his season average to .386 after playing the first 10 at .240.
--LF Craig Gentry joined Coco Crisp to provide plenty of speed at the top of Oakland's order. The two combined to go 4-for-11 with a double, a home run and four runs scored in a 12-1 victory over Texas on Wednesday. Gentry was 2-for-6 with a double, his second extra-base hit in as many games. The former Ranger, obtained by Oakland in a trade over the offseason, is 12-for-33 (.364) in nine starts this season. "Because you have speed at the top doesn't always mean stealing bases," manager Bob Melvin said before the game Wednesday. "It could be creating havoc, infielders maybe a little nervous, whether it's ground balls or whatever. I'm excited to watch."
--2B Eric Sogard was hitless in eight at-bats against lefties this season before a two-run double with two outs in the third inning of a 12-1 victory over Texas on Wednesday. Sogard entered the game in a 7-for-42 slide (.167) over his last 14 games. After Wednesday, Sogard remained perfect in 86 fielding chances this season, second to Jose Altuve among AL second basemen.
--RHP Jesse Chavez pitched seven shutout innings of one-hit baseball with eight strikeouts and one walk in a 12-1 victory over Texas on Wednesday. The 30-year-old is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA and Oakland has won each of his six starts this season. "That's the biggest key: We get a W in the win column," Chavez said. "There's room for improvement. You can't ever get complacent in this game. Overall, I'm happy and it's something I'll look to build off of."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We felt like we had the guys to fill in, but, no, you look at the numbers from the starting pitching ... I wouldn't say it's surprising but it's been unbelievable. It feels like they all feed off each other and push each other and motivate each other." -- Manager Bob Melvin, on fill-in starting pitchers Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chavez going 10-2 with a 1.92 ERA.
MLB Team Report - Oakland Athletics - ROSTER REPORT
--LF Yoenis Cespedes (left hamstring strain) was injured running out a grounder April 24. He sat out April 25-28. He was the designated hitter April 29 and 30.
--INF Jake Elmore (strained left quad) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 28. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on April 24.
--RHP A.J. Griffin (right flexor tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He had Tommy John surgery April 30 and will miss the remainder of the season.
--LHP Eric O'Flaherty (Tommy John surgery in May 2013) went on the 60-day disabled list Feb. 17. He threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session April 22, and he is on track to join the A's sometime during midseason.
--RHP Jarrod Parker (torn right ulnar collateral ligament) went on the 60-day disabled list March 20. He had a second Tommy John surgery March 24, and he will miss the entire season.
RHP Sonny Gray
LHP Scott Kazmir
RHP Jesse Chavez
RHP Dan Straily
LHP Tommy Milone
LHP Sean Doolittle
RHP Jim Johnson
RHP Luke Gregerson
RHP Ryan Cook
RHP Dan Otero
LHP Fernando Abad
LHP Drew Pomeranz
1B Daric Barton
2B Eric Sogard
SS Jed Lowrie
3B Josh Donaldson
INF Nick Punto
INF Alberto Callaspo
INF Brandon Moss
LF Yoenis Cespedes
CF Coco Crisp
RF Josh Reddick
OF Craig Gentry