The Oakland A’s kicked off a four-game series against the Indians on Monday night in Cleveland. Jarrod Parker took to the bump, looking to build off of his last start in which he defeated the Angels. But he took some lumps instead, allowing four home runs to the Indians, all solo shots. Cleveland’s middle infield took flight early on “Parker Airlines,” as Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera each went yard in the first inning. Parker has struggled mightily with his command, issuing 18 free passes through 34.1 IP. He plunked Mark Reynolds his first plate appearance of the night, but Mark got his revenge in the 5th with some ridiculous baseball karma, hitting Parker's 85th pitch of the night a country mile and pimpin' it out of the box as the ball landed an estimated 460 feet away, just below the scoreboard in left field.
So what’s up with Parker? He was touted as the ace of the staff by many coming into this year. I had reservations with calling him a sure-fire ace, though. In 2012 Parker had thrown 20.2 minor-league innings before coming up and hurling 181.1 innings in the bigs. Combined, this was his first 200+ IP season in his career, more than 70 IP more than his previous high of 130.0 IP in AA-Mobile in 2011. Putting a young pitcher’s arm through that kind of wear and tear makes him an easy targets for a sophomore let-down.
Manager Bob Melvin stated that Parker is dealing with what I believe to be a “phantom” neck strain. Parker’s 7.34 ERA, 1-5 record and 1.98 WHIP and .345 BAA suggest it's much more than that. Parker will most likely get a stint on the DL to rest, and some "rehab" starts in the minors to work on his mechanics. If the Athletics pull a starter out of the minors, it will likely be Sonny Gray from Triple-A Sacramento. Gray owns a 3-1 record, 2.61 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 25/12 K/BB ratio through 31.0 IP this year; he’s probably better left on waivers for the time being. As for Parker, I don’t see a bounce back coming in 2013, but I hope I am wrong.
Bonus: Who doesn’t love some GIF awesomeness on a Tuesday? Reynolds Goes Way Out (.GIF courtesy of MLB on Tumblr):
The Boston Red Sox had an extra-inning affair with the Twins last night thanks to more back-end bullpen problems. Read about it in my “Close to Closing” piece from today.
- Andrelton Simmons is finding his power stroke with a .325 BA, 3 HR and 8 RBI over his last 10 games.
- Scott Feldman nearly went back-to-back complete game shut out before a finger cramp ended his night. Really? Yep.
- Anthony Rizzo had a 3-for-4 night with 4 RBI and a homer, he is warming up of late with 3 HR and 11 RBI over his last 11 games.
- Juan Pierre still is better at stealing bases than anyone playing right now, he got number 12 last night; Everth Cabrera is next in steals with 10 after nabbing two last night versus the Marlins.
- Brian McCann returned from the DL and the Braves started Evan Gattis in left field, pushing Justin Upton to Right
- Justin Upton has not homered since April 27th and has only driven in 3 runs in that homerless span batting .230 (6 for 26) with 10 strikeouts and dropping his batting average from .302 to .386 in the process.
- Cliff Lee defeated the Giants with 8 good innings and six punchouts; Domonic Brown hit one to the cove(on the bounce).
- Jedd Gyorko has now homered in back to back games.
- Hunter Pence is still hot at the dish adding another homer and went 3-for-3.
- Chris Capuano was defeated by Paul Goldschmidt and the rest of the Diamondbacks just admired. Goldie drove in 3 and went 3-for-3 off Capuano; he's now batting a ludicrous .800 against him (12-for-15) lifetime.
- Greg Holland blew a 1-0 lead for James Shields who cruised through 8 frames with 2 hits, 9 K and 102 pitches. Holland’s WHIP now sits at 1.67. Aaron Crow might just get his chance sooner than later.
- Joel Hanrahan blew a save and blew out his forearm; he’s likely headed back to the DL. Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara will likely share ninth-inning duties until Bailey returns
- Sticking with the theme here: Fernando Rodney blew his second save capping off a Rays letdown which began with a 7-0 lead.
- Evan Longoria hit a grand slam.
- Asdrubal Cabrera went deep twice.
- Jordan Danks hit a game winner off Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera in the 11th inning.
- Mark Reynolds is hitting .300 with 10 HR and 27 RBI and only 27 K in 100 AB.
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