Athletics starter Cole Irvin completed eight innings for the first time in his MLB career on Tuesday night in the 4-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at the Coliseum. He struck out nine, walking just one.
Irvin's recent success could be credited to “pitching with a chip on his shoulder.” Despite the solid start to his season, he plans to hold on to that mentality.
“It's still there. It's not gonna leave me,” Irvin said after his outing. “I found something that works for me and I'm going to continue to do it as much as I can and pitch with that mindset of knowing that there's someone out there that doesn't think I should be in a big-league uniform, and if it's still grinding me, it's still making me work harder every day and I want to finish, I want to get my first complete game and I want to have multiple in my career and I'm starting to have these goals, and as I progress, maybe these goals are changing and the ability of what I can do is changing, but it's more so I'm still pitching with that mentality, I mean I don't want to lose that."
Irvin said during spring training he spent the offseason “pissed off” after coming off a tough season with the Philadelphia Phillies. In 3 2/3 innings of relief, he had an inflated 17.18 ERA. You wouldn’t even recognize that guy after what Irvin’s doing this season.
He was mad at the lack of opportunity he was given and also mentioned the “inability to just be myself,” as he explained back in March.
“I’ve never been a guy that’s going to blow doors off a hitter and you saw tonight I as pitching and working in and out,” Irvin said Tuesday. “A couple of those innings I was pitching 88 to 90, not trying to overthrow, using the movement and then later in the game, I brought the levels up a little bit.”
He sure did.
Irvin's pretty comfortable facing the Blue Jays as he's seen his fair share of them in the minor leagues over the past few years.
“He’s been consistent the entire season,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said following the game. “In a day where we’re down some guys in the bullpen, eight innings -- I either fell asleep or had a lot of confidence, one or the other. Probably the latter. Pitched great.”
“He just continues to get better and better and pitching with more confidence,” Melvin added. “That’s not an easy lineup for a lefty to go through.”
It appears the chip is going to be an imperative part of Irvin’s success and redemption this season. He still has a lot to prove.