Athletics

Healthy Chris Bassitt erratic but effective in A's 6-1 win vs. Rangers

Healthy Chris Bassitt erratic but effective in A's 6-1 win vs. Rangers

OAKLAND -- It's been almost three years since Chris Bassitt had Tommy John surgery. Although he did return to the majors in 2018, the A's right-hander never quite felt fully healthy.

Until now.

"To say that this is the best I've felt would be an understatement," Bassitt said Monday night, after he threw five scoreless innings in his season debut, a 6-1 A's win over the Texas Rangers. "My [velocity] is back, everything is kind of back. To be honest with you, tonight I was not really built up, and conditioning-wise wasn't that great, but I mean, yeah, I'm back."

The 30-year-old struggled a bit with his control at the Coliseum, issuing four walks, but he allowed just two hits and struck out seven.

"Effectively wild, I guess," Bassitt said, with a laugh. "It was kind of just fill the zone up with everything and hope for the best."

A's manager Bob Melvin concurred with that assessment.

"He can be a little bit on the effectively wild side, where he walks a couple of guys, he hits a guy, he goes 3-0 on you, and comes back and strikes you out looking," Melvin said. "It's really tough to figure out where he's going to throw the ball. One's moving, one's cutting, [he has] a real slow curveball. He can kind of slow you down and speed you up.

"He's got a lot of movement, and as the game progressed, he got more and more confidence."

Bassitt hoped to begin the year in the A's rotation, but he suffered a bruised shin when he was struck by a batted ball during one of Oakland's exhibition games in Japan. He recorded an ERA of 3.27, with 16 strikeouts in 11 innings, in three minor-league starts this season.

Now, Bassitt has his first major-league win of the 2019 season. He heaped praise on catcher Josh Phegley for guiding him through Monday's outing and helping him overcome his erratic control.

"It's definitely not fun to walk that many guys because you put yourself in awkward situations a lot," Bassitt said. "But I give a lot of credit to Phegley, just because I don't think I shook one time. Not only that, it was just more so in between innings talking to him and [him] saying, 'Listen, this is what we're going to do. Trust it and let's go get 'em.' "

[RELATED: A's clear big hurdle in Howard Terminal ballpark push]

Despite keeping the Rangers off the scoreboard, Bassitt was frustrated he couldn't pitch deeper into the game to spare Oakland's bullpen. But Melvin was more than content with the outing.

"He gave us what we needed," the manager said. "He came out with a zero on the board and the lead. That's about all we could ask from him today. ...

"It was a great start for him. I know he was excited about his start and wanted to get off to a good start, and he absolutely did. So I know next time out, he'll have a lot of confidence."

Why Rangers manager Chris Woodward likes A's chances in MLB playoffs

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USATSI

Why Rangers manager Chris Woodward likes A's chances in MLB playoffs

OAKLAND -- Count Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward among those who believe in the Oakland A's this postseason.

Woodward had plenty of compliments for the Green and Gold ahead of Sunday's series finale, as reported by MLB.com's Martín Gallegos.

It certainly makes sense that Woodward is impressed by the A's. After all, Oakland has won 13 of 18 games against the Rangers this season, including the last seven. Through two games this weekend, the A's have outscored Texas 20-3.

Oakland is also playing its best baseball of the season at the right time. The A's have won 10 of their last 11 games and 15 of their last 18.

[RELATED: How A's will use bullpen down stretch]

Still, Oakland's path to a potential World Series will be treacherous. If they can get past the wild-card round, the A's will likely have to beat the Astros, Yankees, and Dodgers in succession.

But it's nice to know that Chris Woodward has faith.
 

A's vs. Rangers lineups: Tanner Roark looks for first win over Texas

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USATSI

A's vs. Rangers lineups: Tanner Roark looks for first win over Texas

Although today is the final regular-season home game for the A’s, it likely won’t be the last time fans will get a chance to see Oakland play at the Coliseum.

With six games to go, the A’s are two games ahead of Tampa Bay for the top spot in the Wild Card standings and would be in line to host the game if the season ended today.

Tanner Roark gets the start for Oakland. The right-hander never has beaten the Rangers despite maintaining an impressive 2.25 ERA in three starts vs. Texas.

Opposite Roark will be Lance Lynn, who has been dominant in 2019. Lynn is third among AL pitchers with 6.7 wins above replacement.

Coverage begins at 12:30 PT with A’s Pregame Live, available on NBC Sports California and streaming in the MyTeams App.

[RELATED: How Bob Melvin plans to utilize A's inconsistent bullpen going forward]

Here are the lineups for A’s-Rangers:

Texas Rangers (74-81)
DH Shin-Soo Choo
3B Danny Santana
LF Willie Calhoun
RF Nomar Mazara
2B Rougned Odor 
SS Elvis Andrus
1B Ronald Guzman
CF Delino DeShields
C Jose Trevino

RHP Lance Lynn (14-11, 3.77 ERA)
 
Oakland A's (94-61)
SS Marcus Semien
3B Matt Chapman
1B Matt Olson
CF Mark Canha 
LF Seth Brown 
DH Khris Davis
2B Jurickson Profar
C Sean Murphy
RF Robbie Grossman

RHP Tanner Roark (10-8, 4.12 ERA)