On Friday, the Oakland A’s bullpen recorded their 28 ⅔ consecutive scoreless inning pitched. With closer Sean Doolittle leading the pack, this Athletics’ bullpen has been rock solid throughout July and the beginning of August. Their success has gone pretty much unnoticed since many have been focused on the starstudded starting rotation. However, their triumphs are now starting to make history.
Doolittle made the Oakland record books on Friday by recording the most saves for a left handed pitcher – it was his 18th save. With a 0.63 WHIP, Doolittle has struck out 73 and only walked 4 in 51.2 innings pitched. In his first year as the Athletics closer, Doolittle has risen to the occasion after taking over the role from Jim Johnson, and it is highly likely that Oakland A’s fans will see him next season.
Then there is the eighth inning set-up man Luke Gregerson. With a 1.81 ERA and 0.97 WHIP, Gregerson had an impressive three-up three-down inning in his last outing against the Minnesota Twins where he recorded his 18th hold. He is currently fourth in the AL for the most holds. Gregerson is an effective pitcher on the mound and is having one of his best season so far.
Ryan Cook has been a nice surprise in the bullpen since coming back from the DL in early June. On Friday, Cook’s five game hitless IP streak was broken, but he still has not allowed a run since June 27th and his ERA for July was 0.00. Right now, there is no seventh inning set-up man, but Cook could easily fill the role – especially since he has been so successful lately.
Fernando Abad and Dan Otero round out this steadfast bullpen. Otero, who found great success as a closer in the minor leagues, is a consistent pitcher who has only walked nine batters over 64 innings pitched. With a 2.25 ERA, he has yet to allow a run in August. Otero tends to go unnoticed since it is only his second year in the major leagues, but this 29-year-old has finally found his place in the Oakland A’s bullpen.
Abad has been the Oakland A’s go to right handed pitcher when they need a reliever to come in to the game in the fifth or sixth inning. He has a 1.79 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP. Having only allowed 10 runs – nine of them earned – over the 45.1 innings he has pitched, Abad is one of the Athletics most reliable relievers in their bullpen.
With former starting pitcher Jesse Chavez now also back in the bullpen, the A’s pitching depth seems bottomless. The bullpen has proven themselves time and time again this season and provides the security the Athletics need when those later innings role around. The Oakland A’s can rest assure that with their magnificent starting pitchers and their unflappable relievers, they can go far into the postseason.
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