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Tuesday, August 11, 2009
A's Gonzalez shows promise

An update from Monday night, from Pinto: I'm still not convinced of two things:

1. "Short shutout" is a better term than "shortout" (or "short-out").

2. Gio Gonzalez is going to make it.

Since rejoining the A's in late June, Gonzalez is 5-4 with a 5.23 ERA. Of course that's nothing special, but there's one disastrous start in there. Take out that one, and Gonzalez has been just fine for a 23-year-old starting pitcher who's getting just his second taste of the Big Boy League.

Also, his 6.41 career ERA is accompanied by 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings. That's a good thing.

He throws hard enough, hard enough anyway to set up his sweeping curveball. Also a good thing.

What's not good is Gonzalez's walk rate. He's walked nearly five batters per nine innings this season, he walked 6.6 per nine innings last season, and he's walked 4.6 per nine innings in Triple-A. A pitcher can survive high walk rates if the strikeouts are coming, too.

But survival's not good enough. Not for the A's, anyway. They need to develop at least two star pitchers and possibly three. Right now the top candidates are Dallas Braden, Gio Gonzalez, and young Brett Anderson. Braden has to get a little bit better. Anderson has to stay healthy. And Gonzalez has to keep most of the strikeouts while dropping roughly one walk per start.

Simple as that!