Aaron Brooks has shown the A’s what he can do on the mound when he’s dialed in and clicking.
Now the right-hander gets a chance to show he knows how to rebound.
The rookie got tagged for eight runs in just 1 2/3 innings Wednesday night by the Toronto Blue Jays. Not the most shocking development in the world given the Jays have won 10 in a row and boast one of the majors’ most potent offenses. Brooks isn’t the first, and won’t be the last, starter to get knocked around by this team.
But what’s significant is this marks the first time in three starts with Oakland that Brooks has struggled, that he hasn’t been able to execute his game plan. A team learns something about a pitcher on his good nights, and Brooks enjoyed two of them in his first two starts since coming over in a trade from Kansas City. But a team learns even more when a pitcher is hit with adversity and must bounce back from it.
Brooks walked his first batter of the game in the bottom of the first, then allowed Josh Donaldson’s single. He struck out the dangerous Jose Bautista but then hung a 2-0 pitch to Chris Colabello, who launched a three-run homer to left.
Toronto drove him from the game during its seven-run second. That rally began with a one-out walk to Ryan Goins, then Brooks’ next five batters went double/HBP/two-run single/single/RBI single. That ended Brooks’ night, as Felix Doubront took over with two outs in the inning.
Brooks, who had solid but not outstanding Triple-A numbers for the Royals’ organization, really made A’s management sit up and take notice in his first two starts at the Coliseum, when he held Cleveland and Houston to a combined two runs over 14 1/3 innings. He wasn’t guaranteed anything beyond one start, but he carved out a place for himself in the starting rotation.
Now the next hurdle presents itself – showing he can develop some amnesia and leave a bad outing in the past.
Sean Doolittle struck out three in one inning of work Tuesday for Triple-A Nashville, but the best news coming out of his outing may have been the 92 he hit on the radar gun. That’s better velocity than the A’s closer showed in his prior comeback attempt from a shoulder injury, and also higher than the 90 he hit in Friday’s outing with Single-A Stockton. Doolittle will make his third rehab appearance this Friday. No word at this point on how many outings he’ll require before being activated from the disabled list.