DETROIT -- A’s right-hander Jarrod Parker was showing signs of arm fatigue in his Game 3 start that factored into manager Bob Melvin removing his starter from the game.
“It just didn’t look 100 percent right,” Melvin said before Tuesday’s Game 4 of the American League Division Series. “I had a conversation with him after the fifth, and he wasn’t in total disagreement that maybe it was time for him to come out.”
At this point it’s too early to say if there’s a legitimate physical issue with Parker. But with the A’s one victory away from advancing to the American League Championship Series, any arm problems would raise the question of how ready Parker would be for his potential next start.
Melvin was asked if he had concern moving forward about Parker.
“I don’t know,” the manager said. “I think you see how he responds in the next couple days and how he feels physically, and we’ll have a better indication.”
Parker went five innings and gave up three runs in a 6-3 victory Monday over the Detroit Tigers, earning his first career postseason victory. All three of his runs came in the fourth inning, and he was pulled after five innings having thrown just 73 pitches.
“It just didn’t look to me like it was his best stuff from the very beginning,” Melvin said. “It was not like he was throwing 86 miles per hour, but you can tell from the side that sometimes the ball was just not coming out of his hand like it has and creating that late movement and late life that he always has.”
Melvin said there were some similar signs of fatigue in Parker’s last few regular season starts. The right-hander allowed seven earned runs and lasted just 4 1/3 innings in two of his final three starts, though in one of those, his struggles were believed to be partly due to a stomach ailment that zapped his strength.
Sandwiched in between those starts was a sharp outing over Minnesota in which Parker threw six innings of one-run ball.
Melvin did not mention publicly any issues of concern with Parker as the regular season wound down. Parker said after his final start at Seattle that he was feeling the effects of a long season, and that the long layoff between the start of the ALDS would be welcome.
Asked Tuesday if Parker was showing signs of fatigue during his final few regular season starts, Melvin acknowledged he was, “whether it’s a dead arm or a period where he was getting a little bit tired potentially.”
For now, there is no plan to have Parker get checked out by anyone outside the organization.
Oakland’s Game 4 lineup is identical to the Game 3 look as the A’s will face right-hander Doug Fister, a Merced native who won 14 games and posted a 3.67 ERA this season.
With the Tigers facing potential elimination, manager Jim Leyland said he would consider using Game 1 starter Max Scherzer in relief Tuesday, but only if Detroit had a lead. Leyland then added that he would check with Scherzer after he played catch during batting practice to confirm his availability.
Melvin said he would not under any circumstance consider using his Game 1 starter, Bartolo Colon, in relief Tuesday. Colon is slated to pitch the deciding Game 5 on Thursday if the A’s lose Game 4.