Paul Blackburn knew he would pitch in the Athletics’ 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, but he wasn’t made aware he would start the game until his plane landed just a few hours prior to first pitch.
“I was told probably around 3:30 today when I got off the plane that I was going to start today,” Blackburn said after the game.
And all things considered, he did pretty well. Blackburn allowed two earned runs across 5 1/3 innings with three strikeouts and four walks.
“I thought after giving up a couple hard-hit balls in the first, he pitched really well,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “To get us to the sixth and to have us within a run, I couldn’t have expected more out of him.”
The walks, Blackburn admitted, were what got the best of him.
“I wasn’t happy with walking [Yoán] Moncada and [Brian] Goodwin back-to-back there in the fourth [inning], especially when you start to get down to the bottom of the lineup, can’t let those guys walk.”
Blackburn explained that even though Yan Gomes had never caught him before, having his veteran presence behind the plate was a huge benefit.
"I think when you throw to a veteran guy -- and he's never caught me -- I mean, he's probably never seen me pitch to be honest, you kind of throw different pitches than you've worked a lot with. I threw a decent amount of right-on-right changeups tonight, and that's not one of my strengths, but it's something he liked back there. He saw the swings he was getting on it, or the action the ball was doing and he went with it, so I think there's definitely a benefit to having a veteran guy catch you that's never caught you before."
“Told them I was ready to pitch, I expected to pitch at some point, but I felt pretty good out there and was happy how I competed and moved the ball around,” Blackburn added.
Blackburn's promotion from Triple-A Las Vegas was in response to Chris Bassitt being placed on the 10-day Injured List due to a facial fracture sustained in Tuesday's loss to the White Sox. Consequently, all the regular starters were pushed back one day. Cole Irvin will get the start on Thursday in the series finale.