Life without Mulder: A's finding way to win without star pitcher 

Life without Mulder: A's finding way to win without star pitcher

Matthew Adamski for SBS

Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito have played a significant role in the A's success over the last few years.

Since picking up Zito on July 22, 2000, the three starting pitchers have put up impressive numbers and shown a great amount of durability.

During that time, the trio made 320 starts, going 171-80 with a 3.19 ERA and averaging more than 225 innings per man each season. Hudson and Zito haven't missed a start since then and Mulder managed to avoid serious injuries until now.

It seems certain that Mulder will miss the remainder of the season with a stress fracture in his upper femur.

The loss of Mulder comes at the worst possible time for the A's who are in a battle with the Mariners and Red Sox for a playoff spot with over thirty games left in the season. On a positive note, the A's have enough talent remaining to contend without Mulder.

On Sunday, the A's ace right-hander Tim Hudson pitched 6 full innings in his first start since being hit by a line drive off his hand on Aug. 16. It was the first time an A's pitcher lasted more than 5 1/3 innings since the team's 7-day road trip began.

During the first five games of the trip the A's were forced to use their bullpen for a total of 24 innings because their starting pitchers were unable to pitch enough innings. Fortunately, the bullpen has responded well to the increased playing time.

Halama got the call to start in Saturday's game and left after four innings with the game tied at three. The bullpen then stepped in and kept the Jays to two runs over the last five innings.

No. 4 starter Ted Lilly went just 3 1/3 innings on Wednesday and rookie Rich Harden lasted only 2 2/3 innings on Thursday.

Oakland's bullpen and offense has helped the A's win five of their seven on the trip, including Saturday's 11-5 victory and Sunday's 17-2 victory over the Blue Jays at Sky Dome.

The starting pitchers, especially Mulder and Zito, need to pitch more innings to take the pressure off of the bullpen. Mulder's performance on Sunday should give the A's confidence to perform at their best.

Unless the A's acquire a pitcher off waivers or through free agency, they will be forced to utilize their bullpen more often and add pitchers from their farm system to the starting rotation. Justin Duchscherer is one of the candidates being considered to fill a starting role. He is 12-2 with a 3.22 ERA at Sacramento this season.

The A's called up right-hander Mike Wood from Sacramento on Thursday to replace Mulder in the roster. He pitched 3 1/3 innings of relief that day against Boston in his Major League debut and has also been mentioned as a possible replacement for Mulder in the starting rotation.

Either way, Oakland would have two rookies among their five starting pitchers.

If the A's are going to make the postseason for the fourth consecutive season, they will need more offense from their key offensive players like Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, Scott Hatteberg, Erubiel Durazo, Jose Guillen and Ramon Hernandez as well as more big performances out of the bullpen and starting rotation.

The A's offense seems to be coming alive. They scored a total of 39 runs in the Toronto series. On Sunday, Miguel Tejada and Ramon Hernandez made A's history by hitting grand slams. It was the first time the A's hit 2 grand slams in the same game during their 103-year history and the team's first two grand slams of the season.

Perhaps, this is the start of something magical like another 20 game win streak that carries them to the playoffs or better yet deep in the playoffs.

Return to Main Page


Comment Create

Sun Oct 16, 2005 1:39 am MST by Lakers Tickets

Comment Even if the A's make the playoffs, I see the loss of Mulder as a significant one. The A's are renown for their super three: Zito, Hudson, and Mulder. In the playoffs, three-man rotations are key especially in the first round. I don't see them getting too far unless they ride Zito and Hudson like the way the D-backs rode Schilling and Johnson in 2001.

Wed Aug 27, 2003 1:35 am MST by Hodaka

Add Comment

On This Site

  • About this site
  • Main Page
  • Most Recent Comments
  • Complete Article List
  • Sponsors

Search This Site

Syndicate this blog site

Powered by BlogEasy

Free Blog Hosting