Oakland Athletics right-hander Chris Bassitt enters his Tuesday road start against the Chicago White Sox with career highs in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts.
As Bassitt has accumulated statistics, his teammates’ confidence in their ace has grown.
“He throws strikes,” Oakland third baseman Matt Chapman said. “He knows how to pitch, it’s fun to play defense behind him. He is a great person and a great teammate. It’s been a lot of fun to watch him have this success, because he definitely deserves it.”
Bassitt (12-3, 3.06 ERA) has fanned 153 batters in an American League-leading 150 innings this season.
Tuesday marks the All-Star’s 25th start. In his past 15 outings, Bassitt is 9-1 with a 2.61 ERA. He is coming off a Thursday victory at Cleveland, where he scattered three hits, two walks and six strikeouts in six shutout innings.
“He had some quick innings,” Indians interim manager DeMarlo Hale said. “His pitch count wasn’t high. He was in the zone, and he kind of keeps you honest with that breaking ball. He kind of slows you down and speeds you up.”
Bassitt will try to help get Oakland back on track after the White Sox prevailed 5-2 on Monday in the opener of a four-game series. Bassitt is 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA in four career starts against the White Sox, who drafted him in 2011 and for whom he notched one victory in 2014 before being traded to Oakland that offseason.
Reynaldo Lopez, who recently rejoined the Chicago rotation following a shoulder injury to Carlos Rodon, is set to start for the White Sox. Lopez (1-0, 1.35 ERA) pitched three scoreless innings of one-hit ball with two walks and four strikeouts Wednesday in a start at Minnesota.
In August, Lopez has pitched to a 1.00 ERA in four appearances covering nine innings. He is 1-1 with a 0.98 ERA in three career starts against the A’s, with 20 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings.
Chicago’s power relief corps of Michael Kopech, Craig Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks combined for four scoreless innings of one-hit ball Monday. They struck out nine and walked one.
White Sox center fielder Luis Robert had a solo home run among his three hits. After missing 85 games with a torn hip flexor, Robert has three multi-hit games in his six contests since returning from the injured list.
“We did miss him,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said.
As the White Sox and A’s renew acquaintances for the first time since Oakland eliminated Chicago in the 2020 postseason, the managerial matchup remains a mutual admiration society.
Oakland skipper Bob Melvin lauded La Russa, a Hall of Famer who came out of retirement in the offseason to take the reins of the club he guided to begin his managerial career.
“This guy was an institution wherever he’s been. Hall of Fame manager, one of the greats of all time,” Melvin said. “So every chance I get to, I try to take a little bit from him.”
La Russa is equally mad about Melvin, it turns out.
“I’ve watched him a lot. I know him,” La Russa said. “I would say there’s no better manager in Major League Baseball now than Bob, and he proves it year in and year out.”
–Field Level Media