Athletics' James Kaprielian 'closer' to past form after start vs. Astros
Kaprielian 'closer' to previous form after outing vs. Astros originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
James Kaprielian continued to take positive steps despite the Athletics falling 2-0 to the Houston Astros on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.
The A's starting pitcher went five innings, giving up one earned run and three hits during his outing, give the A's a shot to avoid being swept by their AL West rival.
Oakland manager Mark Kotsay noted what he believes has been the key to the 29-year-old's success in his last two starts since returning from Triple-A Las Vegas after a rough start to the 2023 MLB season led to his demotion.
"I think the first three [starts] you can look into; obviously, he had offseason shoulder surgery," Kotsay told reporters postgame.
"You think coming back from that, it's probably going to take a little bit of time. So, overall, I think he's got some arm speed built back in, which looks better. And overall, like the last two starts, I think he's attacked the zone better as well."
While a demotion might have sent the veteran right-hander, coming off surgery, on a downward spiral, Kaprielian's belief in himself has kept him afloat.
The faith in his pitches has allowed Kaprielian to overcome his nightmare start to this season, which saw his earned run average balloon to 12.94 before being sent down to the minor leagues.
"I think we're kind of getting mechanically closer to what I was in the past," Kaprielian told reporters postgame. "Some of the changes made weren't necessarily for the better, so I think we're just kind of getting back to what I do. Obviously, the [velocity] is still down, but it's good to be out there, be able to compete with stuff that I have and be able to get out, so I'm not really concerned about that. I think it's in there still just a little bit par for the course, coming back for shoulder surgery, maybe.
"So, just continue to trust myself. Honestly, that's the biggest thing. Regardless of who's lost trust in me, I haven't lost trust in myself. I know what I'm capable of, so I still have that belief and [continuing] to ride that belief is going to be important for me."
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The A's need their starting rotation to build off Kaprielian's outing if they hope to snap their current four-game losing streak.
Oakland will begin a four-game set against the Seattle Mariners on Monday at T-Mobile Park, with rookie Kyle Muller (7.71 ERA) taking the mound against Luis Castillo (3.31 ERA).