The Oakland A's have spent all season scrambling to keep a starting pitcher on the mound every day, and this week they will once again dip into the minor leagues for help. Eric Surkamp will return yet again to make the start on Tuesday against the Rangers at the Coliseum, according to John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group. Surkamp will pitch in place of Rich Hill, on the DL with a groin injury, just a few days after Daniel Mengden made his MLB debut in place of the demoted Jesse Hahn.
This will be the left-hander's seventh start for the A's this year, and a a quick look through his game logs shows nothing to get excited about:
4/8: 4.1 ip, 2 runs
4/13: 4.2 ip, 2 runs
4/19: 5.2 ip, 2 runs
4/24: 4.2 ip, 6 runs
5/11: 2.2 ip, 4 runs
5/31: 4.2 ip, 3 runs
He's only finished the 5th inning once, and overall he's recorded more walks (15) than strikeouts (14). For what it's worth, though, the team has gone on to win half of those games, and one reason is that Surkamp has usually managed to limit his opponents to only a couple of actual runs despite the short outings and awful peripherals.
On the bright side for the southpaw, the Rangers' lineup contains several key lefties including Prince Fielder, Rougned Odor, Nomar Mazara, and Mitch Moreland. On the downside, Surkamp has been pounded almost equally by lefty and righty hitters, so perhaps there is no real platoon advantage. Welp.
It is not yet clear who will be sent down to make room for Surkamp, but a reliever seems likely. There are currently eight arms in Oakland's bullpen, including lefty taxi reliever Daniel Coulombe and righty long man Zach Neal. The A's next off day is Mon., June 20, so Surkamp's spot in the rotation will come up again on Sunday.
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