Mike Fiers’ difficulty to get his pitching location down Friday cost the Athletics in their 3-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at the Coliseum.
It was Fiers’ first start of the season after a delay due to a lumbar strain. In six innings, he struck out three, giving up six hits and three runs.
“He went first time around pretty good,” A's manager Bob Melvin said in a video conference. “Obviously the two home runs bit him a little bit, but the one home run inside to [Cedric] Mullins looked like it was off the plate pulled his hands in, next one was a little bit centered -- three runs, kept us in the game.”
Fiers had been building up innings at the alternate training site in Stockton, and the veteran said he felt good overall Friday.
“Felt like I was right on track and felt like I made really good pitches and pitched well,” Fiers said after the game. “They scrapped a couple runs against me and we couldn’t get the runs back so, overall I felt pretty good, so I’m happy with it.”
“Hat off to Mullins, he’s coming out of the gate hot in 2021,” Fiers added.
Mullins, the Orioles’ left-hitting center fielder, hit a homer off a pitch that was so inside and off the plate that anyone would have totally understood if he let it pass him.
“To get enough to get it out and to also keep it fair it was insane,” Fiers said.
Fiers also said his stamina still was good heading into the sixth inning, showing even more promise he’s on the right track to ease back into the rotation.
That doesn’t mean any starter will get the boot, however. Melvin made it clear adding Fiers wouldn’t equal subtracting someone else.
The A’s bats had a tough time going up against Orioles starter John Means, who struck out nine in seven innings while only walking one.
It wasn't the start the A's envisioned on their season-long 10-game homestand, but it was still an encouraging debut for Fiers.