On Friday night, Oakland A's pitcher Jarrod Parker made the most important start of his young career, as he held the Detroit Tigers to three runs (two earned) over 6.1 innings. The 23-year-old right-hander pitched well for the most part, allowing seven hits and one walk while registering five strikeouts before departing in the seventh inning.
Now down 2-0 in the best-of-five series, the action will shift to Oakland where the A’s hope to keep their World Series dreams alive. While left-hander Brett Anderson is unofficially slated to throw Game 3, the majority of the pressure remains on the rookie, Parker, who will throw either Game 4 or 5, if necessary.
However, pitching in Oakland should work in Parker’s favor, where he posted a 2.61 ERA and 2.37 K/BB in 15 starts spanning 100 innings during the regular season.
Despite pitching well, the right-hander will need to be more effective, as he threw only 58 of 96 pitches for a strike in Game 1.
Parker worked his way into some early trouble after allowing two consecutive deflected hits to open the game, but he minimized the damage by inducing a run-scoring double play off the bat of Miguel Cabrera.
Omar Infante laced a one-out double into the left field corner in the third inning and later scored after Parker misplayed an infield single by Quentin Berry. The Tigers added their third and final run on Alex Avila’s solo home run in the fifth.
While other rookies, such as Bryce Harper, will draw more attention and fanfare this October, there is considerably more pressure on Parker, with his team now in a two-game hole in the ALDS.
He's been the quiet ace of the young A’s rotation this season—especially in the wake of Bartolo Colon's suspension and Brandon McCarthy's injury—and if they’re able to reach Game 4 on Wednesday, expect Parker to take the ball with a chip on his shoulder.