The Oakland Athletics have decided to go with a "fresh arm" in Saturday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., bumping James Kaprielian in favor of fellow right-hander Daulton Jefferies.
Jefferies (1-0, 3.60 ERA), who has made just one start this season, is coming off animpressive performance his last time out. He scattered three hits over 3 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen in a no-decision against the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
In his one start this season, on Aug. 1, Jefferies gave up three runs on three hits and three walks in five innings en route to an 8-3 win over Los Angeles. It was his lone career start against the Angels.
"Daulton is pitching great right now," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "And if it's incrementally better, this time of year we have to go with what's the best at this particular time. Who knows if it's one start -- I'm not sure."
Kaprielian has won just twice in his past eight starts while compiling an ERA of 6.51. He also has thrown a career-high 105 1/3 innings and had Tommy John surgery in 2017. He has been moved to the bullpen.
"In my opinion, he is a little worn down right now," Melvin said. "He'll never tell you that. We wouldn't be where we are without Kap giving us what he did this year."
The A's, who have won three in a row, are still in the playoff race. They are 2 1/2 games out in a bid for the second wild-card spot in the American League.
Oakland shortstop Elvis Andrus was not in the lineup in Friday's 5-4 win over the Angels (72-75) after being hit by a pitch on his left foot the previous day in Kansas City. Melvin, though, said he expects Andrus back in the lineup for the Athletics (80-67) in the next couple of days.
Left-hander Jose Suarez (7-7, 3.59) will start for the Angels on Saturday and is coming off victories in each of his last two starts.
Last Saturday against Houston, he gave up one run and three hits in 5 2/3 innings. And on Sept. 4, he had the best performance of his career after permitting one run and striking out eight in a complete game against Texas.
Suarez owns a 1-1 record with a 3.31 ERA in four career appearances (one start) against Oakland.
The key to his recent success has been his willingness to throw his curveball -- and command it.
"I think that's the pitch that really permitted this outing (last Saturday) and the last one (Sept. 4)," Angels manager Joe Maddon said. "We always saw fastball-changeup and an occasional curve, and now the curveball is more pertinent. So he followed it up against a really good team."
Angels center fielder Mike Trout, out since May 17 with a strained right calf, isn't expected back this season with just 15 games remaining. The Angels have yet to make an official announcement regarding the three-time MVP.
"The guy is so wanting to be out there," Maddon said. "You watch him in the dugout every night; he's on every pitch. He comes over, discusses things with me during the course of the game. He's absolutely, totally engaged.
"I don't expect him to play today or tomorrow, or anytime soon, because there's still that process of having to get at-bats. ... It'd be very difficult."
--Field Level Media