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Elephant Rumblings: Waldichuk hitting stride in final month

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MLB: Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

The 2023 season hasn’t gone anywhere near as close to what Waldi wanted in his first full season in the major leagues. A tough spring training (10.54 ERA in 13 23 innings) didn’t stop the club from plugging him into their season-opening rotation. Things didn’t turn around in the regular season though.

Waldichuk got the ball for the third game of the season and the struggles from spring followed him. The club gave him a long leash of nine starts, during which Waldichuk was getting knocked around to a 6.85 ERA. That was when the club finally decided to mix things up as the club used an opener before Waldi’s next appearance. It didn’t help as he yielded 5 runs in 2 23 innings. From there, the club fully changed course and deployed Waldichuk out of the bullpen in a multi-inning role. That seemed to help a bit but not too much.

Things have finally started turning around for Waldichuk recently though. Since the All-Star break, Waldichuk has made 9 starts compared to only two relief appearances. During that time he’s tossed 54 innings with a much-improved 3.67 ERA. That was what the club was expecting when they plugged him into their season-opening rotation.

He’s been even better of late, as well. In his past 7 games (6 starts), Waldichuk has a 2.63 ERA, with last night being arguably his best appearance of the year: 6 shutout innings with just one walk as the bulk pitcher in last night’s win over the playoff-contending Houston Astros. It seems like the young lefty was getting into his head and finally stopped doing that:

Waldichuk was a huge part of last night’s shutout, and manager Mark Kotsay took notice and shared some words about his performance:

Even his defense was excited to be behind him as All-Star Brent Rooker shared:

With the 2024 starting rotation wide open, a strong finish to the year could give Waldichuk a leg up on the competition when spring rolls around. The club liked Waldichuk enough to make him a key part of the Montas trade and they’re probably excited to see Waldi finally hitting his stride. Heck, if Waldichuk keeps this sort of performance up the rest of the r year he might be practically guaranteed a rotation job next year. Something to keep an eye on here in the last few weeks of the 2024 season.

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