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All Eyes On Jarrod Parker

"Oh say can you...pitch?"
"Oh say can you...pitch?"
Jeff Gross

First of all, be sure to check out this story in the San Francisco Chronicle, about local 16 year old Riley Quinn: A successful 3-sport player born with only one hand. It's a great read, especially in this time of unsettling news from Boston to Texas, from Anderson to Parker.

Speaking of Jarrod Parker, we will all be watching closely to see if the right-hander can rebound from 3 starts this season that have ranged from bad to awful. Not only is the rope shortening for Parker, but he takes the mound the day after Brett Anderson lasted just 1 inning before leaving with a sprained right ankle before he could leave with "can't throw the ball where I want to".

The bullpen is taxed, and even if Oakland calls up Dan Straily it's possible Straily will be needed on Wednesday (Anderson's next turn) and so there may be hesitation about letting him (or whoever else might be called up for long relief help) go long today. Jerry Blevins pitched 2 IPs last night, and Chris Resop also threw, so neither of them could be asked to go very long today either.

Basically, the A's cannot afford for Parker to go 3.1 IP today, as he has done each of his last 2 starts -- or, heaven forbid, go even shorter. Parker knows that the A's long reliever tonight is Parker, and while he may not need any more pressure on him, that's the reality. (Note: The one scenario in which this won't be the case is if the A's DL Anderson, send Scribner down, and call up not one but two pitchers.)

Oakland seems to feel Parker's troubles do not relate to mechanics, nor is he tipping his pitches, and all indications are that he is fully healthy. So why is he missing spots, both out of the strike zone and in, to where he has allowed a gaudy 23 hits in 11.2 IP? Along with 8 BBs?

My one "best guess" is that Parker is overthrowing a bit, trying to do too much and as a result gripping the ball tighter, holding on to it longer, etc., and that his best chance for a "bounce back start" is to remember that "less is more". This is especially true if your name happens to be Les Moore, but the point is that by backing off a bit and just letting his natural ability take over, Parker might find better control, better command, and more consistent arm action.

Basically, don't try to do too much. And for God's sake, don't do too little!