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Elephant Rumblings: Will Lou Trivino be the A’s closer this season?

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MLB: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels
Sep 19, 2021; Anaheim, California, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Lou Trivino (62) throws against the Los Angeles Angels during the ninth inning at Angel Stadium.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Wednesday, Athletics Nation!

Lou Trivino turned 30 as the 2021 season wound down. Now he is poised to enter the 2022 season — his fifth in the majors — as the A’s longest tenured reliever following an exodus of veteran bullpen arms this offseason: Yusmeiro Petit, Jake Diekman, and Sergio Romo have all left for free agency, and of those three only Petit has yet to sign elsewhere.

Trivino is also in a good position to recapture the closer role that he lost after a brutal stretch in late August last season, according to Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. The right-hander spent most of the 2021 season as the A’s closer and his stats were stellar through his first 55 appearances, including a 1.72 ERA.

Then Trivino’s — and the A’s — season went off the rails. He allowed 13 runs in just 3.2 innings from August 21 through September 4, headlining a widespread bullpen collapse that coincided with the A’s fading from playoff contention. By mid September, the A’s bullpen had blown nine saves across 21 games and given up leads of four or more runs on a handful of occasions. Trivino attributed his struggles to a mechanical problem with his delivery:

“I wasn’t consistently finishing over my front side, kind of falling off [to the side] ... but this year, I feel really good. Feel like the ball is coming out well. I have command of a lot of pitches.”

Lou’s Spring Training performance correlates well with his stated confidence. So far he’s held opponents scoreless and struck out five in three one-inning appearances. A’s pitching coach Scott Emerson told Kawahara that Trivino’s “arm looks alive.” Be sure to check out Kawahara’s piece in the Chronicle for more conversational details with Trivino, Emerson, and A’s new skipper Mark Kotsay.

To borrow from a familiar AN regular, which Lou will we get this year: sweet or sour?

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