Joe Blanton has already had an impressive rookie season.
Oakland revamped its rotation in the offseason after trading stars Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson. One of the pitchers they turned to was Blanton, a first-round draft pick out of the University of Kentucky in 2002 who was featured in the book “Moneyball.”
After dropping his first five decisions this season, Blanton is 11-7 with a 2.52 ERA over his last 22 outings despite receiving poor run support. The 24-year-old right-hander had a three-game winning streak snapped Monday when he surrendered four runs and five hits over eight innings in a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Blanton is 1-1 with a 3.79 ERA in three starts this season against Seattle.
Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez was back in the lineup for Friday’s 4-1 loss after missing one game due to shoulder problems. Chavez, who is hitting only .229 (24-for-105) over his last 27 games, has indicated he wants to be in the lineup through the end of the season.
“If Chavvy came to me and said he didn’t want to play, he wouldn’t,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “But he’s going to go out there until you stop him.”
The A’s also decided to shut down shortstop Bobby Crosby for the final series of the season. Crosby, last year’s AL rookie of the year, fractured his left ankle in August and re-aggravated the injury in Tuesday’s loss to the Angels.
“I’m not going to play the guy if there’s pain in there,” Macha said. “He’s got medical clearance, but I don’t think it’s fair to anybody.”
Seattle ‘s Jamie Moyer completed a 10-0 home mark by pitching eight strong innings in Friday’s victory. The 42-year-old also shared a special moment with retiring catcher Dan Wilson, who caught the first inning in his final game after spending the final 12 seasons of a 14-year career with the Mariners.
Ichiro Suzuki went 4-for-5 on Friday to become the sixth major leaguer with 200 hits in his first five seasons. Willie Keeler (1894-1901) holds the record with eight straight 200-hit seasons, while Wade Boggs (1983-89) had seven.