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A Fifth Oakland A’s Starting Pitcher Heads To The Injured List in May

The Oakland Athletics placed pitcher Ross Stripling on the 15-day injured list on Saturday due to a strained right elbow. Stripling started on Friday against the Houston Astros, but struggled and lasted only 3 2/3 innings. Though many might blame his elbow issues for the poor start, Stripling has largely struggled all season long.

Additionally, Oakland announced that the team designated pitcher Brandon Bielak for assignment while calling up righty Tyler Ferguson and Australian southpaw Jack O’Loughlin.

Stripling represents the fifth starting pitcher the Athletics have placed on the injured list this month. Saturday’s roster moves will provide the team with two fresh arms for at least the weekend.

Oakland Athletics Place Ross Stripling On The Injured List

The Athletics traded for Stripling this winter, hoping he could provide veteran innings and possibly serve as a trade chip at the deadline. Unfortunately, Stripling has produced a 5.82 ERA across 55 2/3 innings and 11 starts. Part of his struggles come from a failure to induce ground balls and strikeouts. Stripling also is not throwing hard or getting hitters to swing and miss.

However, other numbers indicate Stripling has pitched better than these numbers indicate. First, metrics like SIERA and BABIP say that the veteran has been hurt by factors like poor batted-ball fortune, a bad strand rate, and poor defense. Plus, he successfully limited hard contact while posting an excellent 4.8 percent walk rate.

It’s unclear how long Stripling will be on the injured list. But, Oakland is surely hoping he’ll return in time to regain some value before the deadline. When at his best, he can provide a contending team with valuable innings in the back of the rotation or in a multi-inning bullpen role.

Brandon Bielak DFA’d

Bielak made only three appearances for the short-handed Athletics. Even more, he pitched pretty well. In three appearances, he tossed 5 2/3 innings with a 3.18 ERA. Not much should be taken from such a short sample, but Oakland needs innings and Bielak has a history of roughly league-average production.

Like Stripling, Bielak has plenty of experience both starting and coming out of the bullpen. Plus, he is able to provide multiple innings in relief. With the Athletics, Bielak tossed 2 2/3 innings in two of his three outings.

The team acquired him right after they placed another veteran starter, Alex Wood, on the injured list, so perhaps his acquisition simply resulted from a need for innings. With Stripling on the injured list and Bielak also pitching on Friday, Oakland clearly valued fresh and healthy arms in Ferguson and O’Loughlin.


Photo Credit: © D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports


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