The Oakland A’s placed starting pitcher Brett Anderson on the disabled list on Tuesday, the team announced. To replace him on the roster, reliever Ryan Dull was called up from Triple-A Nashville.
The diagnosis for Anderson is a strained forearm. The left-hander had been on a roll lately, allowing just two total runs in four August starts spanning 26⅔ innings, but his hot streak ended on Monday. He got torched by the Astros in that last game, as Houston knocked him out in the 3rd with a five-run rally. Overall this year he’s been around league average, and Oakland has won seven of his 13 starts.
Anderson, 2018: 4.02 ERA, 65 ip, 34 Ks, 12 BB, 7 HR, 4.15 FIP
This is the second time the 30-year-old has hit the DL this season. He also missed the end of May and all of June to a shoulder strain. He “had some trouble throwing his slider (Monday) night and had some forearm discomfort afterward,” reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle.
For the A’s, it’s the second starter they’ve lost in the last three days. The rotation has been brilliant in August, with a 2.72 ERA and 3.54 FIP, but Sean Manaea went down on Sunday and now Anderson is on the shelf too. That’s nothing new for Oakland, though, who have seen their starting staff decimated by injuries all season long.
In terms of replacements for the rotation, two new starters are needed to join Trevor Cahill, Mike Fiers, and Edwin Jackson. One option is Daniel Mengden, who came up on Monday and pitched four scoreless innings of long relief after Anderson’s exit. There’s also Chris Bassitt, who made a spot start on Sunday, as well as Frankie Montas, both of whom are waiting in Triple-A.
Jackson and Cahill are scheduled to pitch the next two games in Houston, but the two new arms will need to be mixed in between Thursday and Saturday at home against the Mariners. Saturday also marks the beginning of September, which means rosters expand and extra help can be brought up from the minors. Once that happens, Oakland might experiment with bullpen games on some days rather than a traditional starter, reports Slusser. Update: It’ll be Montas, Fiers, Mengden, from Thu-Sat, says Slusser.
In the meantime, the A’s add an extra arm to their bullpen in Dull. The former setup man has struggled to find consistency at the MLB level this year, and as a result he’s been part of the taxi squad that frequently moves up and down between Oakland and Nashville. Most recently, he’s struck out 19 of the last 44 batters he’s faced in Triple-A, though he’s also given up some runs along the way. The right-hander threw a season-high three innings for Nashville on Sunday.
Dull, 2018: 5.89 ERA, 18⅓ ip, 17 Ks, 5 BB, 3 HR, 21 hits, 4.24 FIP
There are now nine relievers in the pen: Treinen, Familia, Rodney, Trivino, Buchter, Petit, Kelley, Pagan, Dull.
Ouch. When you have Anderson in the rotation you know he’s a possibility to go down at any moment, but it’s still a bummer when it happens. That’s doubly true considering the hot streak he was enjoying. The 65 innings he’s thrown this year are the fifth-most of his MLB career, and if you count minor league action then his 97⅓ are the sixth-most of his 12-year pro career.
This news is a blow to the A’s, who have been the hottest team in MLB lately and are making a surprise push in the AL West division. But losing starters to injury, even two at once like this, is something they’ve been dealing with all year. They’ve always managed to patch together a solution, and they indeed have a couple viable options to choose from this time, so this isn’t yet a knockout punch to their contention hopes. In that way, it’s easy to see a parallel with the 2012 team that this squad so often reminds us of.
We've hit the Bartolo Colon suspended and Brandon McCarthy injured portion of the storyline. https://t.co/3ygdLUG6Jl— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) August 28, 2018
One thing’s for sure, though: This is exactly why I was happy they acquired Mike Fiers. Everything was peachy when they made that trade in early August, but there was a lot of time left in the season for something to go wrong. Now it has, and it’s a good thing they beefed up their depth when they had the chance.
As for the inevitable talk about top prospect Jesus Luzardo, my stance is still “let’s not.” In Slusser’s writeup linked above, Forst plainly states there are no plans to bring up the 20-year-old.
For everyone asking about Jesus Luzardo, he gave up eight runs last time out and he's almost at innings limit of 120 the A's envisioned for him. If he were to be a callup in Sept., the bullpen would make more sense, but not sure A's want to put him on the 40-man roster yet.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 28, 2018
Keep the fAith, Athletics Nation. The hits keep coming, but the A’s have powered through to this point. They have enough in the tank to keep the rotation humming, so let’s see if the next guys are able to step up and keep us on this wild ride.