Frankie Montas hasn't been the ace of the A's pitching staff but certainly pitched like it Sunday afternoon.
With Chris Bassitt -- the ace of Oakland's pitching staff -- sidelined for an indefinite period of time after being hit in the face with a comebacker on the mound last Tuesday, the A's will need somebody, or a collective group, to step up in his absence.
Montas (7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 Ks) out-pitched Giants starting pitcher Logan Webb (6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks) Sunday in the finale of the Bay Bridge Series.
Sunday's dominance has been one of many great starts for Montas as of late. In his previous seven starts, the 28-year-old is 1-2, with a 2.51 ERA, in 43 innings pitched, with 13 walks and 56 strikeouts.
The A's were in complete control Sunday, looking to close out a series victory against the Giants before inevitably losing 2-1.
At 105 pitches, manager Bob Melvin removed Montas after seven innings, which resulted in the A's bullpen surrendering a go-ahead two-run homer to Giants second baseman Donovan Solano.
“Yeah, you pitch in a 1-0 game, throw seven innings with 105 pitches, and it wears you out a little bit,” Melvin told reporters postgame. “We needed that, and he knew that going (into the game). The way [Logan] Webb had been pitching, we knew that going out you’d have to keep the runs to a minimum and he did. He gave us everything we needed to give us a chance to win.”
The A's other three starters -- Sean Manaea, Cole Irvin and James Kaprielian -- have thrown relatively well, but nowhere near the level of Montas as of late. Could he be the A's ace in the rotation until Bassitt returns?
“It’s huge, he has the stuff to do it," Melvin said. "We’ve seen him dominate games.”
Montas though, views filling the void left by Bassitt as a team effort.
“Not just me, I feel like all of us will step up," Montas told reporters after the game. "I don’t need to go out there and try to fill a hole. I’m just trying to be a leader and support my teammates. I feel like all of us have the same purpose, just go out there and try to fill that hole.”
The A's rotation has certainly shown flashes of dominance throughout the season, just not lately.
Montas though has been the exception. With his outing Sunday, the A's might have found the arm they'll need to lean on down the stretch.