Let down by 'single most important aspect' of pitching, A's go 0-6 on road trip

Let down by 'single most important aspect' of pitching, A's go 0-6 on road trip

SEATTLE — There are various problems to diagnose over a six-game losing streak, but a glaring issue of late is the inability of A’s starters to work deep into games.

It happened again Sunday, as rookie Daniel Gossett lasted just 3 2/3 innings, the bullpen got taxed and the A’s were pounded 10-2 by the Seattle Mariners. Reflecting on his team’s 0-6 road trip overall, A’s manager Bob Melvin said: “It’s terrible. I can’t remember the last time we went out on a road trip and didn’t come home with a win. And you feel bad for our fans that come and support us here too, because we get some fans here and in Anaheim. And to not get one out of it is pretty disappointing.”

It’s going to be tough for the A’s to stay in games consistently when Melvin is forced to call on his relievers so early in games. Gossett’s issue was simple: An inability to throw enough strikes. He labored through 89 pitches, just 46 of which were strikes.

“It’s the single most important aspect of pitching,” said Gossett, who walked a career-high five. “I wasn’t able to do that and I got exposed. I just gotta be able to locate better, find a way to locate better.”

On Saturday, fellow rookie Jharel Cotton fell behind hitters consistently and went just four-plus innings. A’s starters went four or fewer innings in three of the six games on the just-completed trip.

Oakland’s rotation ranks 10th in the American League in innings pitched. Their relief corps ranks middle-of-the-pack in innings — a manageable workload when viewed from that standpoint. But the earlier the ‘pen gets called upon in games, roles get thrown out of whack and the depth gets strained.

It’s no wonder Melvin said Sunday that pitching reinforcements are on the way once Triple-A Nashville’s season wraps up Monday.

But at some point, it’s on the A’s starters to simply throw more strikes and take some of the burden off the relievers.

“When you’re bouncing some fastballs, it means you’re just not commanding the baseball,” Melvin said, “and you have to at this level or you’re not gonna get away with it. You may get away with it for a little bit, but you won’t sustain it, especially for a starter.”

A's trade outfielder Jaycob Brugman to Orioles


A's trade outfielder Jaycob Brugman to Orioles

OAKLAND – The Oakland A’s traded outfielder Jaycob Brugman to the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named later or cash, the club announced Wednesday. Brugman was designated for assignment on Monday.

Brugman made his major league debut with the A’s last year and batted .266 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 48 games. He also hit .275 with a home run and nine RBI with Nashville and then batted .182 in nine games with Mesa in the Arizona Fall League.  

Brugman was originally selected by Oakland in the 17th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

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A's make roster moves, DFA outfielder who played in 48 games in 2017


A's make roster moves, DFA outfielder who played in 48 games in 2017

In order to get their 40-man roster set for the Rule 5 Draft, the A's did a little roster reshuffling on Monday.

Among the casualties from the roster crunch was outfielder Jaycob Brugman, who played in 48 games for the A's in 2017.

Brugman and left-handed pitcher Sam Moll were designated for assignment in order to clear spots for the A's to add right-handed pitchers Heath Fillmyer and Lou Trivino to the 40-man roster.

During his stint with the A's last season, Brugman hit .266/.346/.343 with two doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI. Brugman participated in the recently-concluded Arizona Fall League, but didn't put up great numbers. He his just 1.82 in nine games.

The 23-year-old Fillmyer started 29 games for Double-A Midland and posted a 3.49 ERA in 149.2 innings. He was a fifth-round by the A's in 2014.

Trivino spent time with Midland and Triple-A Nashville during the 2017 season. In 48 relief appearances between the two levels, he posted a 3.03 ERA and struck out 65 batters in 68.1 innings.

Earlier on Monday, the A's acquired outfielder Ramon Laureano from the Astros for right-handed pitcher Brandon Bailey. Laureano was added to the 40-man roster and right-handed pitcher Bobby Wahl was outrighted to Triple-A Nashville.

The Rule 5 Draft will be held on Thursday, Dec. 14 at the Winter Meetings in Orlando.