Oakland played a dreadful stretch of games earlier in the week, getting thumped at Baltimore, losing in the bottom of the ninth to the Orioles the following day, and then giving up 11 runs at Boston on Monday.
For a young team, the A's have used 11 rookies, that might be the way the season goes, some real stinkers followed by some gems. The team is back at .500 (13-13), and considering what an overhaul Oakland went through during the winter, dealing three All-Star pitchers several lot of top prospects, finishing around .500 would be an accomplishment in a division with powerhouses such as the Rangers and Angels.
The A's have been encouraged by their starting pitching, despite having so much inexperience, as Parker and Tommy Milone are rookies and Tyson Ross is a second-year player with 11 starts to his resume.
Ross will be on the mound Friday night at Tampa Bay. Oakland's team ERA of 3.34 is third best in the league.
Health, as always, will be a key, and the A's were considering putting outfielder Coco Crisp onto the disabled list on Thursday after two-plus weeks of inner-ear and sinus infection trouble.
In addition, Oakland was getting X-rays on Kurt Suzuki's left hand after catcher was hit by Daniel Bard's fastball in the sixth inning Wednesday, although he remained in the game.
Crisp is one of the Oakland players who might be available before the trade deadline, along with closer Grant Balfour, left-hander Brian Fuentes and potentially DH/outfielders Seth Smith and Jonny Gomes.
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