Win elusive, but Bassitt proving himself to A's
SAN FRANCISCO -- Chris Bassitt has yet to notch a win in four starts for the A's despite pitching well in all of them, but the right-hander is at least assured of another opportunity for one.
Despite being saddled with a 2-1 Interleague loss in San Francisco on Saturday, Bassitt continued to prove his worth as a long-term answer in a muddled Oakland rotation that's lost Scott Kazmir to trade and Jesse Hahn to injury in less than two weeks.
The Giants, who busted out for 17 hits in Friday's series-opening win, mustered five off Bassitt in his six innings -- one of them a solo home run from their ace, Madison Bumgarner.
Bumgarner, who has three home runs this season and nine in his career, worked Bassitt for seven pitches in the third-inning at-bat. Bassitt believed the fifth should've been a third-strike call.
"He missed [the call]. It is what it is," Bassitt said. "But it was just an awkward thing where I was like, 'Don't walk him, don't walk him, don't walk him,' and I grooved a fastball right down the middle. You have to go at him more as a hitter and less as a pitcher, and it was just a horrible mind-set, and he made me pay."
Back-to-back two-out hits from Joe Panik and Matt Duffy led to the Giants' go-ahead run in Bassitt's sixth and final inning, which he exited at 97 pitches. He hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of his four starts, walking just two in a combined 23 innings in that span, after issuing nine walks in 10 2/3 innings out of the bullpen in the early going of the season.
Not only has he honed his command, but he's sharpened his secondary pitches, among them a curveball that buckled Hunter Pence's knees for a third-strike call in the second inning.
"He's been working on his curve and change," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He's definitely less predictable with the cutter and the extended slider on it and good heater and, at times, effectively wild, so it was tough to get a good swing on him today. Really, the best swing of the day was the ball Bumgarner hit."
"In the beginning," Bassitt said, "I had to rely a lot on my fastball, but I went down and worked a ton on my offspeed and it showed up for the most part today, which I'm happy about."
Just don't ask him to hit again. Bassitt, making his first plate appearance since high school, finished 0-for-2 with a strikeout against Bumgarner.
"Horrible," he said. "I hope I never do that again. I'll take anyone else to hit for me. Every fastball I thought was going to be in the dirt was right down the middle."