After the Oakland A’s 8-14 loss to the Texas Rangers on Monday, A’s starter Drew Pomeranz punched a wooden chair out of frustration and anger. Pomeranz gave up eight hits and seven earned runs over 3.2 innings.
Even though Pomeranz had the right to be frustrated with his performance, his actions landed him on the DL with a fractured right hand. The only positive thing is that Pomeranz is a left-handed pitcher, so he did not injure his pitching hand. But this leaves the A’s scrambling to find a replacement for starting rotation.
After Pomeranz was officially placed on the disabled list, the A’s recalled Evan Scribner from Triple-A. However, Scribner is a reliever and is just filling the open spot on the roster for the time being. The Oakland A’s are still going to need to figure out something soon since Pomeranz’s next start is scheduled for Saturday. So who could be Pomeranz’s potential replacement?
Mills was acquired Tuesday morning from the Milwaukee Brewers and manager Bob Melvin considers this lefty a strong contender to fill Pomeranz’s spot in the starting rotation. Mills had been pitching in Triple-A for Milwaukee and will report to Triple-A Sacramento for the Oakland A’s. While with the Brewers’ Triple-A team, Mills had a 4-2 record with a 1.56 ERA over 14 games. He was the starting pitcher in 12 of those games.
Mills would be a good replacement since it would be a left-handed pitcher replacing another lefty. Even though he was traded for $1 – yes, only a dollar – the Athletics’ front office obviously sees something special in Mills. Mills has not had that much experience pitching in the major leagues and his career ERA for the majors is 7.76. But this year seems to be different. Besides having a winning record in Triple-A in Nashville, he also has a good variety of pitches with the ability to strikeout right-handed hitters with his off-speed pitches. It looks as though Mills is hitting his prime at 28 years old and the Athletics like what they are see.
Straily is always a viable option for the Oakland A’s. He started off the year in the Athletics’ starting rotation but was sent down to Triple-A in May. Even though he was not performing well at the beginning of the season, this righty has MLB experience and has recently been successful in Triple-A in Sacramento.
Straily current has a 4-1 winning record with a 3.55 ERA in Sacramento. His breaking ball has been working especially well for him lately and he has been striking out a lot of batters. In his last outing, he had nine strikeouts over seven innings. During his time in Triple-A, Straily has a total of 46 strikeouts over 45.2 innings. Straily is a good fill-in for the Oakland A’s if he is able to stay hot.
Manager Bob Melvin has also mentioned Leon as a possible temporary replacement for Pomeranz. Leon’s first ever call up occurred earlier this season for a doubleheader against the Seattle Mariners. However, he did not get the chance to pitch. Pomeranz ultimately pitched during the doubleheader and cemented his place in the A’s starting rotation. Now Leon has a second chance to break into the major leagues.
Leon pitched well during spring training with the Oakland A’s. He had a 2.13 ERA over 12.2 innings and only allowed six hits and three earned runs. Even though his ERA this season with the Sacramento River Cats is on the higher side, he has a 6-2 record and a 1.53 WHIP. Leon is probably the least likely out of these three to be brought up. However, if Straily and Mills cannot find success in Oakland, Leon is likely to take their place.
If Mills can carry over the strikeout success he had in Triple-A to Oakland, he would be the obvious choice for the Athletics. A lefty for a lefty. However, the Athletics already have two other left handed pitchers in their starting rotation, so they may mix it up and throw a right handed pitcher into the rotation. If that is the case and they want to go with familiarity, they will go with Straily since he has experience pitching in Oakland.