Righty tosses strong seven innings, lacks support from offense
By Trevor Hass
OAKLAND -- A's starter Kendall Graveman's ERA has decreased every single start since he was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on May 23. He struggled mightily in April, but he has rebounded with a terrific June, most recently tossing seven innings of two-run ball in the A's 3-1 loss to the Padres at the Coliseum on Thursday.
"You get up and you experience some failure, you have to figure out how to get people out," Graveman said.
While Graveman has shined, the A's offense has given him little support in his past three starts. Thursday, he made two mistakes on solo home runs to Matt Kemp and Derek Norris, and the A's couldn't rally.
The A's scored 39 runs in their previous four games -- all wins -- and were bound to regress from their 16-run performance a day prior. However, the offense only mustered five hits all night and didn't give Graveman a chance at a win.
In his past three starts, Graveman has surrendered a combined four runs, but the A's have lost all three outings.
"Just a couple pitches in the zone there that he got beat on," battery mate Josh Phegley said, "and other than that, it was a quality start for him."
Graveman said his pitch to Kemp wasn't a bad pitch -- Kemp simply put a good swing on it. The middle-in pitch to Norris, though, is one he wants back.
Phegley said Graveman did a nice job spotting his fastball away and mixing in his sinker and cutter effectively. A's manager Bob Melvin praised Graveman for relaxing since his return to the Majors.
On a day where the A's offense couldn't do enough, Graveman kept his team in the game. In the past month, he's developed into a reliable fifth starter on a deep staff.
"Getting a lot of early contact, being able to go deep in ballgames [have been key]," Graveman said. "Being able to mix the slower breaking ball in has really helped since I've come back up."
Trevor Hass is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.