It goes without saying that the Oakland Athletics would really benefit from a solid outing from starter Jarrod Parker tonight.
The 24-year-old will take the hill in the second game of a weekend series against the Seattle Mariners up at Safeco Field, and it’d be nice if he put together a dominant outing.
Thus far in 2013, Parker has looked extremely inconsistent. He’s 1-5 with a 7.34 ERA over seven starts, and hasn’t shown good command of his pitches, resulting in shaky outings that have been confusing to him, the team and fans.
The strangest aspect of his struggles is that he hasn’t lost velocity–his pitches are more or less around the same speed that they were throughout 2012–but for whatever reason he’s having a lot of difficulty locating them well enough to be successful (save for one solid game against the Tampa Bay Rays, which resulted in a 1-0 loss).
Oakland comes into tonight’s game with a five-game losing streak. Battered by injuries to outfielders Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick and Chris Young, the offense has really taken a dive over the past week or so–thanks in part to umpire Angel Hernandez’s inefficiency.
After exploding out of the gate with a 12-4 record, the A’s are now 18-19, but owe a lot of their recent struggles to the banged-up offense, which has been unable to be at full strength since 3/4 of the outfield hit the disabled list.
As always, though, if the A’s are going to make any noise in 2013, they’ll have to rely on starting pitching. That was the team’s strength last season, and Parker working through whatever issues are plaguing him would go a long way. Here’s to hoping his season begins turning around starting tonight.