ANAHEIM – No confirmation came Monday on the Oakland A’s postseason starting rotation, but signs point toward Bartolo Colon and Jarrod Parker taking the ball in Games 1 and 2 of the American League Divisional Series.
Manager Bob Melvin didn’t offer any concrete details on his starting staff. However, he did allow that he feels the opponent, and whether the A’s start a series at home or on the road, shouldn’t factor into who is slotted where.
“I think you run the best guys out there, in order, that you think are the best guys suited to win on a particular night for you,” Melvin said before Monday’s series opener against the Los Angeles Angels.
There’s no doubt that Oakland’s “best guys” for any postseason series begin with Colon and Parker in whatever order. Colon is 17-6 with a 2.64 ERA. The 40-year old obviously has experience on his side and has regained his All-Star form from the first half after spending time on the disabled list in August with a groin injury. Parker, in just his second season, is 12-7 with a 3.74 ERA. After a shaky April, he has been the A’s most consistent starter over the past four-plus months.
Melvin said the A’s likely would go with a four-man rotation, so if the team stays in order as Melvin hinted, it stands to reason the A’s playoff rotation will go Colon-Parker-Sonny Gray-A.J. Griffin, with Dan Straily left to fight for a bullpen spot.
Tommy Milone is starting in Griffin’s spot Monday in Anaheim, but that is simply to give the regular starters an extra day of rest. Melvin said he didn’t foresee any other rotation tweaks.
Catcher Derek Norris said he likes the potential makeup of Oakland’s rotation.
“As far as style of pitching, I don’t think any of our guys are really the same,” Norris said. “I don’t think we fall into too many patterns of teams seeing an identical pitcher as the guy they saw the night before.”
Yoenis Cespedes got the night off Monday, and he was scheduled to test his injured right shoulder by playing catch. Cespedes has been relegated to DH for the past week to give his shoulder a rest. Melvin said he’s hopeful Cespedes can play “multiple” games in left field before the regular season ends.
He also said he’ll give a day off to selected starters over the final six games, including third baseman Josh Donaldson. Jed Lowrie served as DH Monday, sort of a half-day off.
“We still have some games to play and some games to win,” Melvin said. “We’d like to secure home field advantage. I don’t think our mindset is different. You mighth see a little different personnel day-to-day but I think the flexibility of our roster suggests we’re gonna run out a lineup that we feel is capaoble of winning.”
The A’s currently trail Boston by 1 ½ games for the top seed in the American League.
Catcher John Jaso is in Arizona and will start getting at-bats in instructional league games starting Tuesday.
Norris took throws at first base in batting practice, a sign that the A’s might be thinking of keeping all three catchers on the postseason roster. Right-handed hitting first baseman Nate Freiman continues to be sidelined by a muscle strain in his abdomen.