Logue learning, benefiting from Irvin's tips

August 24th, 2022

OAKLAND -- Sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes to get back on track. For A’s rookie , it was those of rotation mate .

Coming off back-to-back rough outings, Logue was accompanied by Irvin for his latest bullpen session over the weekend. Irvin, who has emerged as Oakland’s ace and leader of the pitching staff this season, imparted wisdom to Logue following the session after identifying some mechanical flaws.

“We talked about what he saw when I was making good pitches and executing,” Logue said of his discussion with Irvin. “I had a good conversation with him, and tried to take that into the outing.”

Applying the advice from his rotation mate, Logue took the Coliseum mound on Tuesday night and looked like a completely different pitcher from his last two times out. The left-hander limited Miami to two runs on three hits and racked up a career-high seven strikeouts over six innings in the A's 5-3 loss.

More important than the punchouts, though, was Logue's walk total: zero. Free passes have been an issue for him in the past. Tuesday marked just the second time he’s gone through an outing without a walk in his 10 career games pitched (nine starts) as a big leaguer.

"One of the main goals for today was to go out there and attack," Logue said. "Be the aggressor, get ahead of guys and let the stuff play from there. I thought we did a good job of getting ahead, which makes my offspeed stuff play a little bit better."

An attacking mindset has been a major factor in Irvin’s success this year. Logue seemed to adopt that mentality from the jump on Tuesday, pounding the zone with first-pitch strikes and consistently staying ahead in the count. Even when he was knocked down by Brian Anderson in the form of a leadoff home run in the fourth, Logue picked himself back up and kept with the aggressive approach, retiring the next six batters he faced after the homer.

With Logue efficiently cruising through five innings of one-run ball, it was a bit of a surprise to see him get a short leash. After a groundout by Miguel Rojas moved Luke Williams to third base with one out in the sixth, manager Mark Kotsay arose from the A’s dugout and pulled Logue, who sat at just 66 pitches.

Kotsay explained the decision as being matchup-based. With Anderson coming to the plate having already homered once earlier off Logue, Kotsay preferred to bring in right-hander Domingo Acevedo, who entered the night holding opponents 9-for-51 (.176) with runners in scoring position this season. The move did not work out as planned. Acevedo, who inherited a one-run deficit, ended the frame with the A's trailing by five.

"I thought Zach’s outing was really, really good," Kotsay said. "He kept them off-balance. Really had good command of his fastball tonight with his changeup. Threw a couple of backdoor breaking balls for strikeouts. The matchup I had with Anderson, our bullpen, especially Acevedo, has done a phenomenal job. I felt strong about us getting out of that."

Of Logue’s 66 pitches, 47 went for strikes, providing evidence of what appeared to be impressive command. The fastball was clearly working. It was the putaway pitch to five of his strikeouts, as he threw it 41 times to record 18 swinging strikes and five whiffs (swings and misses) with it. But it was Logue’s entire repertoire -- changeup and slider included -- that enabled him to look downright unhittable at times and vastly improve upon the 13 earned runs he'd allowed in 9 2/3 innings in his previous two starts since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Aug. 13.

"After two bad ones, you always want to perform well," Logue said. "For me, I want to stay here as long as I can. It’s just good to go out there and give your team a chance to win."

With a much-needed bounceback effort in tow, Logue should get more opportunities at the Major League level as the A’s evaluate which young starters might fit into their long-term plans. Seeking to continue the positive step forward he took Tuesday, Logue will likely continue the dialogue with Irvin, whom he views as a sort of blueprint for how to stick at this level, given the pair's somewhat relatable qualities on the mound as left-handers.

"I think Cole and I, we kind of have similar repertoires," Logue said. "We think similarly and attack hitters in a similar manner. To talk to a guy that’s had the year he’s had, just to bounce some things off him has been very helpful for me."