There’s one person James Kaprielian’s expectations have yet to exceed.
Heading into Wednesday, manager Bob Melvin thought it was fair to say the pitcher had exceeded the team's expectations. That held true after his third solid outing, this time in a 6-3 win over the Seattle Mariners, but Kaprielian isn't quite satisfied.
“Not my best stuff, to be honest today,” Kaprielian said after Oakland's victory.
“Today was one of those mental games for me where I got to just be able to compete. For me, knowing that I didn’t have my best stuff today, I wanted to go out there and use my defense and obviously I didn’t pile up a bunch of strikeouts like I had hoped -- every pitcher loves those.
In seven innings Wednesday, Kaprielian gave up just two hits and two walks, striking out four.
“I haven’t quite hit my expectations, to be honest," Kaprielian said. "I expect myself not to walk guys, I do expect myself to give my team a chance a win every fifth day, but I still feel like I have a long ways to go and I haven’t done anything quite yet. Having a little success in the big leagues is great, but I don’t feel like I’ve done anything yet. I’m not sure what the A’s expectations are of me. Mine are a lot higher. I want to continue to grow and learn.”
After three starts, Kaprielian looks like he's here to stay in the A's rotation. He's 2-0, boasting a 1.53 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings. Kaprielian also has a 0.91 WHIP.
Between Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss the 2017 and ‘18 seasons and other personal obstacles, this has been a moment Kaprielian has looked forward to for a long time.
“I’ve been preparing for this for years,” Kaprielian said. “Since I got hurt, since I got Tommy John -- there wasn’t a day where this isn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to have success and be a starter in the big leagues and one of the horses for the team.”
The A's on Friday moved Mike Fiers to the 60-day Injured List, and there's no timetable for the veteran's return. Kaprielian will get an even longer look in the rotation, and plenty more chances to meet his own lofty goals.
“I know what I want to do,” he said. “I have all these expectations and goals that I want to hit and I don’t have them because I don’t think I’m not capable of reaching them. I think I firmly believe I can.”