ANAHEIM – The A’s upcoming pitching plans might include an opener Wednesday and probably will feature Paul Blackburn on Saturday.
Manager Bob Melvin said before Tuesday night’s game against the Angels that while Daniel Mengden is listed as the starter Wednesday, the team might elect to go to an opener (presumably Liam Hendriks again) with Mengden to follow in the second inning.
“It’s more of a stay-tuned type of thing,” Melvin said. “I’d kind of like to see him (start) but we’ll get some input from within and see how we proceed.”
The A’s are 5-6 in regular-season games when using an opener, and when the team used an opener against the Angels last week, Hendriks allowed two runs in the first in a game the Angels eventually won in extra innings. Hendriks has been the only opener Oakland has elected to use since general manager David Forst first discussed doing so last August (though reliever Lou Trivino also started a game at Anaheim on Sept. 28 to get in work in advance of the playoffs, it was not as part as an opener strategy).
Oakland will get to add a 26th player for Saturday’s doubleheader at Texas and it’s more than likely that Blackburn, who is from Brentwood, will start against the Rangers. Blackburn is 6-1 with a 4.55 ERA at Triple-A Las Vegas; he has allowed 10 runs in 10 1/3 innings over his past two starts.
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This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/athletics/article/A-s-pitching-plans-maybe-an-opener-probably-13937589.php.