AP Photo/John FroschauerOakland Athletics starting pitcher Jarrod Parker works against the Seattle Mariners during a baseball game in Seattle on Saturday

AP Photo/John FroschauerOakland Athletics starting pitcher Jarrod Parker works against the Seattle Mariners during a baseball game in Seattle on Saturday

Jarrod Parker’s best needed for A’s to make a deep run

So you share Mark Twain’s supposed sentiments about summers in The City and you’ve been hibernating since April.

Here’s what’s going on: the Republicans are trying to repeal Obamacare, Anthony Weiner is in trouble for thinking with his wiener and A’s are getting set to square off with the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series.

That’s right, a full summer and 162 baseball games later, nothing’s really changed.

In 2012, Justin Verlander proved to be the difference in a short, best-of-five series, and as the teams prepare for a rematch, which gets underway at O.co Coliseum on Friday, the A’s are still looking for their own Verlander-like horse to ride to the World Series.

The A’s appeared to have this problem solved just a few weeks ago. As Oakland completed its road sweep of the Texas Rangers on Sept. 15, Jarrod Parker seemed capable of toeing the rubber with any pitcher in baseball.

At the time, Parker was riding a 19-game unbeaten streak, the franchise’s longest since Lefty Grove strung together 21 straight starts without a defeat in 1931. Over that stretch, Parker toppled aces Chris Sale, Yu Darvish and David Price, compiling a 9-0 record with a 1.90 ERA.

The A’s rotation has been a hurricane of moving pieces again this year, with Brett Anderson’s early-season ankle injury, Tommy Milone’s departure to the bullpen and Bartolo Colon’s rise, fall and September resurgence. Through the ups and downs, though, Parker pitched with remarkable consistency, providing a quality start every fifth day.

But with October looming, the 24-year-old right-hander is hitting an unexpected rut. In his last three starts, he’s posted a 9.21 ERA, a 1.50 WHIP and, suddenly, Colon appears to be a more reliable option for starting Game 1 and Game 5.

Whomever Bob Melvin decides to go with, the A’s will need Parker’s best stuff to make a World Series run. Parker is the A’s most talented pitcher with the league’s second-best changeup and a fastball that runs in the mid-90s while dancing all over the strike zone.

The Tigers are no longer a one-man band on the hill. In addition to Verlander, Jim Leyland’s staff features the American League’s winningest pitcher, Max Scherzer (21), and the league’s ERA leader among starters, Anibal Sanchez (2.57).

Fortunately, the A’s are receiving a four-day break for winning the AL West and the extra rest might be just what Parker needs to regain his form.

The right-hander threw 197 innings this year after tossing 181 ¹⁄³ innings as a rookie in 2012, his first full season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2009. Prior to the season, Sports Illustrated flagged Parker as a likely candidate to suffer from “year-after effect” — when young pitchers are ineffective a year after seeing a workload increase of 30-plus innings — and maybe the extra miles are finally catching up to him.

If so, this series could wind up being a replay of last year’s duel, in which case, you might want to stay in bed for another week.

Paul Gackle is a contributor to The San Francisco Examiner. He can be reached at pgackle@sfexaminer.com and followed on Twitter @GackleReport.A'sDetroit TIgersOakland A'sPaul Gackle

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Income from Shared Spaces will provide financial resources to the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency, according to its director, Jeffrey Tumlin. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest eviction orders issued against renters Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Federal judge strikes down CDC’s national moratorium on evictions

David Yaffe-Bellany, Noah Buhayar Los Angeles Times A federal judge in Washington… Continue reading

Most Read