The Oakland Athletics will get a second crack at Chase Silseth on Friday when they begin a three-game series against the host Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.
Silseth (1-0, 0.00 ERA), the first player from the 2021 draft to reach the majors, held the Athletics to just one hit while walking two over six shutout innings in his debut May 13. The 22-year-old right-hander had just been promoted from Double-A Rocket City.
“Just a lot of hard work put in, and trust in the organization to get me better,” Silseth said of his rapid rise to the majors. “Go to work and really competing, and controlling what you can control.”
Even though Silseth wasn’t drafted until the 11th round, the Angels obviously felt he was ready, both from the standpoint of his pitch repertoire and his mindset.
“I loved the first pitch of the game,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Silseth’s debut. “It means it was in control of his emotions and nothing was too quick. He dotted it at 96 mph and he continued to do that.”
His four-seam fastball topped out at 98 mph in last week’s game against the Athletics. And he mixed in a splitter, slider, sinker and curveball.
“It’s a dream to get a phone call or manager telling you that you’re going to the big leagues to start a game,” Silseth said. “When I was initially told, I was emotional because my uncle died this past fall and the last thing he told me was I was going to make it. So that was for him.”
Silseth will be matched up against A’s right-hander Paul Blackburn (4-0, 1.67 ERA), who is coming off a no-decision against the Angels on Saturday. He gave up one run and five hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Blackburn has been Oakland’s best pitcher this season, giving up two runs or fewer in six of his seven starts.
In two career starts vs. the Angels, Blackburn is 1-0 with an 0.68 ERA.
The Athletics’ offense, though, has been the club’s biggest problem so far this season. Oakland ranks last in the majors in team batting average (.205), on-base percentage (.273) and slugging percentage (.314) heading into the start of play on Thursday.
“I think there was just a frustration of smashing balls at people and watching them being caught over and over again,” outfielder Seth Brown said. “But everybody has been in a pretty good mindset. Everybody is excited every day. The energy is still here.”
The Angels’ offense has been among the best in the majors entering Thursday, ranking first or second in runs, hits, homers, RBIs, total bases and slugging percentage. They are the only team to have six players with 20 or more RBIs.
Despite coming off being swept by the Texas Rangers, the Angels still feel confident moving forward.
“Every game, we feel like we can win,” Angels center fielder Mike Trout said. “It’s a different feeling, for sure. We’re really confident in each other. That’s the big thing. Everyone believes in each other. We never feel like we’re out of a ballgame.”
–Field Level Media