OAKLAND -- In a move that could be considered a preemptive call to the bullpen, the A's have announced that left-handed reliever Travis Blackley will be the starting pitcher Monday against the Twins. Blackley will be taking the spot of Graham Godfrey who struggled with a finger injury against the Angels on Tuesday.Godfrey's misfortune gave Blackley a chance to prove himself. Once Godfrey left Tuesday's game, Blackley managed to give the A's three and two-thirds innings, allowing an unearned run. It was a performance that manager Bob Melvin admitted factored into the decision."He threw close to 60 pitches," Melvin said. "We saw four good pitches, some sink on his fastball, and a good curveball.""I'm just thankful I've got a job up here at the moment," Blackley said. "I'm doing everything I can to try and establish myself, and to try and win games. We need some wins right now."Blackley was picked up by the A's after being designated for assignment by the Giants on May 13. He is the fourth Australian born native to have been on the A's roster this season. He hasn't allowed a run since he was claimed by Oakland, all while pitching exclusively out of the bullpen. Blackley does have past experience as a starting pitcher though. Last year he pitched for the KIA Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organization, where he went 7-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 25 games, 22 of which were starts."Before this, my big league experience had only been starting," Blackley said. "So I'm treating it as the same thing. I am coming in trying to eat up innings."Godfrey, who was recalled to take Brandon McCarthy's spot in the rotation, entered Saturday's game in relief. He allowed three runs in two innings. Before the game he threw a bullpen session to test the injured middle finger on his pitching hand and reported no problems. At the time he was listed as Monday's starting pitcher. The A's apparently had a change of heart, giving Blackley an opportunity."Hoping we can have a good one on Monday," Blackley said.
The A’s six-game road trip got off to a promising start Friday as they try to reverse their fortunes away from Oakland.
Jharel Cotton shined over five innings before leaving because of a blister on his right hand, and the bullpen took care of things from there to complete a 3-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Considering the A’s came in just 9-25 on the road so far, this was the rare occurrence of them taking control early and staying in control while wearing the road grays. Now the A’s just hope the victory didn’t come with a steep price.
In addition to Cotton (5-7) leaving after a blister opened up on his right thumb, shortstop Chad Pinder left with a strained left hamstring. The severity of that injury wasn’t immediately known.
Here’s five things you need to know from the opener of this three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field:
-- Davis hits No. 19: Khris Davis gave Cotton some early cushion with a two-run homer off Mike Pelfrey (3-6) to center field in the first. It was Davis’ team-leading 19th long ball, but just his third in 22 games this month.
-- Another solid outing for rookie: Coming off a strong 6 1/3-inning outing against the New York Yankees, Cotton again looked in control Friday before having to leave. The right-hander held the Sox to three hits over his five innings, striking out three and walking one. It’s unknown whether the blister will affect his availability for his next start, but the A’s learned with Rich Hill last season how nagging a blister can be for a starter.
-- Ninth-inning nerves: The final score didn’t indicate how tense things got for Oakland in the ninth. Closer Santiago Casilla gave up two singles to start the inning. After Avisail Garcia flied out, Todd Frazier hit a pop up behind first. Yonder Alonso couldn’t haul it in and the ball dropped, but Alonso alertly threw to second to get a force out. Then Matt Davidson sent a deep fly ball to center that Jaycob Brugman hauled in at the warning track.
--- Joyce powers up: In the fifth, Matt Joyce lit into a 3-2 pitch from Pelfrey and homered to center field to put the A’s ahead 3-0. It was the ninth homer for Joyce, who continues to provide some of the spark the A’s are looking for in the leadoff spot.
-- A double ejection: : White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and manager Rick Renteria both were ejected for arguing a fifth-inning play after Anderson hit a dribbler near home plate that surprised him by being called fair.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Astros-A's coverage begins at 4 p.m. with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.
The latest A's youth movement embarks on its first road trip when they visit the south side of Chicago and the White Sox. Manager Bob Melvin has issued his lineup for Game 1 of the series.
Chicago White Sox:
1. Melky Cabrera (S) LF
2. Jose Abreu (R) 1B
3. Avisail Garcia (R) RF
4. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
5. Matt Davidson (R) DH
6. Tim Anderson (R) SS
7. Yolmer Sanchez (S) 2B
8. Kevan Smith (R) C
9. Adam Engel (R) CF
RHP -- Mike Pelfrey
1. Matt Joyce (L) LF
2. Matt Olson (L) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Chad Pinder (R) SS
8. Bruce Maxwell (L) C
9. Jaycob Brugman (L) CF
RHP -- Jharel Cotton