The surprise season for the Oakland Athletics has been given a black eye. Like the San Francisco Giants’ Melky Cabrera across The Bay, Bartolo Colon has been given a 50-game suspension for testing positive for elevated testosterone levels.
The A’s pulled Colon off the scrap heap this offseason and he has responded by posting a 10-9 record with a 3.43 ERA. Colon was a key reason why the A’s were drastically exceeding expectations.For most organizations, losing a successful starting pitcher would have a large negative impact on their foreseeable future, however, that is not the case for the green and gold.
There are three very good options that can step in for Colon and keep the A’s moving forward in their quest to make the postseason for the first time since 2006.
The first option is Dan Straily. Straily leads all professional pitchers in strikeouts this season. Prior to being sent down to make room for Brett Anderson, Straily posted a 1-0 record with an ERA of 3.18 in 3 starts.
Griffin was having a lot of success prior to sustaining a shoulder injury. In 8 starts this season, Griffin posted an ERA of 2.42 with a record of 3-0. Griffin has only allowed 10 walks inover 44 innings of work. This is an incredibly valuable statistic when you are pitching in Oakland’s spacious park. The miles of foul territory can lead to easy outs by getting opposing hitters to put the ball in play.
Blackley has been the jack-of-all-trades for the Oakland Athletics this season. He has enjoyed success whether starting or pitching out of the bullpen. In his 18 appearances (11 starts) Blackley has posted a record of 4-3 with an ERA of 3.52. Like Griffin, Blackley has displayed excellent control, with only 20 walks in over 84 innings.
So fear not A’s fans. The loss of Colon is one the A’s are very well prepared to recover from. Based on the players they have available to plug in, the quest for the postseason will continue. With a little luck, the small budget A’s may be pitching well into October.
Nick Domanico is the Bay Area Editor for Sports Out West and is also a contributor to Yahoo! Sports. For more on all Bay Area sports, follow him on Twitter @NickDomanico