The Oakland Athletics will return to the Coliseum Friday where they will begin a six-game home stand against the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs. The A’s just completed a 1-6 road trip and are just 3-10 for the season.
Through 13 games, Oakland’s pitching staff is sporting a 7.65 ERA which ranks dead last in the majors. Most of that comes from a rotation that has a 9.93 ERA and has already given up 16 home runs. Another telling number is that A’s starters have logged just 58 innings over those 13 games. Entering play Friday, that is the third fewest in the majors.
Oakland entered the season thinking that their rotation depth would be a strength. There is still time for that to be the case, but it hasn’t worked out that way yet. Injuries to Paul Blackburn and Drew Rucinski have put their depth to the test. The decision to pitch Shintaro Fujinami every Saturday and fill in with spot starters when needed also hasn’t worked out. Funinami has allowed 13 runs and walked seven in just 6 2/3 innings. While none of that is good, the lack of innings has put a strain on the rest of the rotation and the bullpen.
James Kaprielian will get the start in the series opener Friday. He is coming off a start in Tampa where he pitched well early allowing just one run over the first three innings. He was tagged for four more runs in the fourth and was then sent back out for the fifth to help cover for a bullpen that had been overworked. Kaprielian’s numbers over his first two starts are ugly as he has allowed 12 runs in just 9 2/3 innings. He does have 11 strikeouts, but has allowed four home runs.
Falling behind early in so many games has put pressure on the offense to produce and they showed some signs of life during the four-game series in Baltimore. After scoring just six runs combined over the first four games of the trip, they scored 23 in the final three games against the Orioles.
With Seth Brown on the injured list, Brent Rooker has seen an uptick in playing time and has taken advantage. Rooker homered three times and drove in eight runs in the final two games of the road trip. He’s hitting .333/.375/.762 with a 205 wRC+ in just seven games this season.
The Mets come into the series with a 7-6 record overall and have won four of their last six games. Kodai Senga has pitched as well as advertised over his first two starts and will be on the mound again in Friday’s opener. Senga has faced the Marlins in both of his previous two outings and has allowed just two runs and has 14 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.
Game Date/Time: Friday, April 14, 6:40 p.m. PDT
Location: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California
Radio: A’s Cast, KIQI 1010, Bloomberg 960 AM / 103.7 HD2