The A's weakness this season was supposed to be their rotation. Recently, they've bucked that notion.
Daniel Mengden is the latest A's starting pitcher to have a dominant outing. He went seven innings Saturday in Oakland's 4-1 win in Detroit, and only allowed one earned run while striking out five.
"He's got good stuff, he can mix his pitches really well," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Mengden after the win. "He's a true four-pitch guy."
In the last month, the A's five-man mix of Mengden, Frankie Montas, Mike Fiers, Chris Bassitt and Brett Anderson has been among the best in the American League.
Oakland's starters have a 2.93 ERA (35 ER, 107.1 IP) with 91 strikeouts in 18 starts since April 28.— AthleticsPR (@AthleticsPR) May 18, 2019
Entered the day with the 2nd best ERA in the American League in that span behind Minnesota (2.75).
Mengden followed a career first for Montas. On Friday, Montas pitched into the ninth inning for the first time in his career and struck out a career-high 10 batters.
"We knew he had a lot of talent in him, but he's taking it to another level right now," Melvin told reporters Friday when asked about Montas' start.
Coming into their four-game road series with the Tigers, the A's had lost three in a row. They're now riding a three-game win streak, thanks to their starting arms. The trio of Bassitt, Montas and Mengden combined to throw 23 2/3 innings while allowing only three earned runs. They also struck out 22 batters and only walked four.
And the A's soon could have more help on the way.
Jharel Cotton pitched in his first rehab assignment in Class A for the Stockton Ports on Thursday. Sean Manaea quietly has been throwing bullpens, and top prospect Jesus Luzardo threw his first bullpen Tuesday, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.
Oakland's starting pitchers' ERA now is just outside the top five in the American League. Though they're still in the bottom of the AL West, the A's are trending up, with reinforcements coming down the road.