When the season began, A's fans probably weren't expecting to see a combination of Paul Blackburn, Frankie Montas, Chris Bassitt, and Sean Manaea in any four-game series.
But injuries have forced Bob Melvin to get creative, and against all odds, his young arms are getting the job done.
This weekend, the A's took three of four from Kansas City, allowing a total of 7 runs in the series. The aforementioned starting pitchers combined for 28 innings, giving up just 6 earned runs for a sparkling ERA of 1.93.
It began Thursday night when Blackburn came off the DL to make his first start of the season, and he was tremendous. Despite being on a strict pitch count, Blackburn got through six innings, allowing just a run on three hits.
Montas followed up with his third straight stellar performance Friday night, limiting the Royals to 2 runs and six hits in 7 2/3 innings. In three starts this season, Montas is a perfect 3-0 with a 1.25 ERA.
The A's had to call up Bassitt from Triple-A Nashville Saturday to start for the injured Trevor Cahill, and Bassitt delivered 7 strong innings, allowing a single run on three hits in a tough-luck loss.
And on Sunday, Manaea returned to his early-season form, giving up just 2 runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings, as the A's clinched the series victory.
Oakland has already used 11 different starting pitchers this season, including a stretch of seven different starters in seven games earlier this month. Yet somehow the team continues to win games, and is now 34-32 on the season.
Consider the A's starters who have gone down to injury this year: Jharel Cotton, A.J. Puk, Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Kendall Graveman, Andrew Triggs, and Paul Blackburn (am I missing anyone?). But here we are, almost halfway through the season, and the Athletics find themselves above .500 and still in contention for a playoff spot.