Oakland A’s: Is Chavez the key for the 2014 season? [Opinion]

Will Mathis, Staff Writer

Oakland A’s pitcher Jesse Chavez is off to an unbelievable start this season as the former reliever-turned- starting-pitcher pitched like an ace with no signs of slowing down.

As of May 6, Chavez has the seventh-best ERA in baseball (1.89), the seventh-best walks, hits and innings pitched (0.95) and has 41 strikeouts, compared to just eight walks.

Through his first six starts he only once gave up more than one earned run.
In his most recent outing Chavez gave up just one hit in seven innings pitched against the team’s most feared division opponent, the Texas Rangers.

Chavez’s performance has been unbelievable, considering he was a fill-in for the injured Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin. But can Chavez possibly maintain anything close to Griffin Parker’s performance for the A’s?
Chavez was a relief pitcher for most of his career. His career high for innings pitched was 67.1 when he pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009. This season he has already pitched 38 innings. At this rate he will pass his career high by the beginning of June.

The A’s will be put in a situation where they will have to consider giving Chavez an extended break from the rotation in hopes that he can pitch again come August, September and October.

General manager Billy Beane might have to turn to somebody such as Drew Pomeranz in the minors, or maybe put another pitcher in the system.
Given the way Dan Straily and Tommy Milone have pitched this season, the A’s can’t afford to lose any more pieces of their rotation. The A’s are 2-9 in games Straily and Milone have started.
I can see Chavez pitching at this high level through May, but after that he might get tired. He’ll start to get hit and the A’s will have to look for a short-term answer to fill in for him, which they obviously can do.
One of the A’s biggest strengths might soon become a weakness, which will drastically change the playoff race for much of the summer.

However, Chavez going down could very well force Owner Billy Beane to make a move for another good pitcher, which could make the team very dangerous down the stretch, assuming Chavez is about to come back after a couple months’ rest.