Chris Bassitt got the nod to be the A’s Opening Day starter on Thursday, but a conversation with A’s manager Bob Melvin before the announcement had the righty worried for a minute.
“It was Bob Melvin more so,” Bassitt told NBC Sports California on Wednesday. “He pulled me into the office and anytime BoMel pulls me in the office, I’m like, ‘Oh God, what did I do?’ I guess this was a good one for a little bit of a change, but yeah -- BoMel told me, and I obviously was happy about it.”
It was well-deserved, too. Bassitt was the team’s most dependable starter in 2020, boasting a 2.29 ERA.
Bassitt and the A’s will host the Houston Astros for a four-game series to open the season, followed by the reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers for three games, before flying to Houston for three more with the Astros.
The Astros eliminated the A’s from the postseason in 2020 in the AL Division Series. It was a heartbreaker, but Houston’s offense didn’t shy away.
The A's knows they face a tough schedule, but in all fairness, they also know the Astros have some tough games ahead of them as well.
“Yeah, I mean -- we know how good they are, and they know how good we are, so just an early test to see where you’re kind of at for the season,” Bassitt said. “And obviously, you want to kick that off on the right foot, but I mean, we have a very long season to go, we just so happen to be throwing against the Astros, then the Dodgers, then the Astros to start the year -- so we’ll find out really quick.”
The Astros once again look to be the A’s biggest competition in the AL West.
The Coliseum also will be hosting fans for the first time since 2019 after 2020’s coronavirus pandemic forced those who love the game so much to stay home. Last season, Bassitt admitted he didn’t realize how much they took it for granted being able to hear the echoes and every little noise that was going on. It’s something he looks forward to having in 2021.
“Yeah awesome, I mean, showing up for the workouts today for the first time at the Coliseum, it already kind of stirred up some emotions for tomorrow, so adding fans to the stands is only going to be a lot better so yeah tomorrow should be a lot of fun,” Bassitt said.
The lack of cardboard cutouts, and Bassitt on the mound at 7:07 p.m. PT, truly will mean it’s Opening Day.