The Oakland Athletics have fallen from the heights of their early-season run, dropping out of first place in the American League West and going 5-5 over the past 10 games, and losing seven of their past 12.
Oakland dropped two of three to the now-first place Texas Rangers to start the month of August, then dropped two straight to Cincinnati, and after taking two of three from the Toronto Blue Jays, lost two straight to the last-place Houston Astros.
In the month of August, the Athletics are 20th in the majors in batting average, lost right-handed starter Bartolo Colon to a left groin strain, and have seen their pitching staff post a 3.92 ERA.
The one constant for Oakland – perhaps the only thing keeping the Athletics’ heads above water -- been right-handed pitcher Jarrod Parker.
Over the past seven days, the third-year hurler has posted a Major League-best 2-0 record and 17.0 innings pitched, fanning 13 and allowing just three walks while holding opposing teams to a .217 batting average with a 0.94 WHIP.
Parker’s 1.06 ERA over the past week was 13th in the majors, and fourth among pitchers with at least two starts.
Over the past month, though, Parker has been scintillating, dropping his ERA from 4.02 to 3.58, with wins over Texas, Toronto, Seattle and Baltimore. The Athletics have in fact won four of Parker’s last five starts, and he’s gone at least 6.0 innings in each of his past five starts, while allowing more than two earned runs just once.
Parker’s last two wins – against the Mariners and the Orioles – were particularly crisp, as he tossed a complete game against the M’s (allowing eight hits and one earned run in 9.0 innings) and a sparkling 8.0-inning, five-hit effort against Baltimore.
The victory over the Orioles pushed them to three games back in the second wild card spot, thanks to Parker limiting the powerful Baltimore lineup – with its big league-best 175 homers – to two extra-base hits.
Aug. 12-18: Alfonso Soriano
Aug. 5-11: Miguel Cabrera
July 29-August 4: A.J. Burnett
July 22-28: Giancarlo Stanton
July 15-21: Juan Lagares
July 8-14: Buster Posey
July 1-7: Clayton Kershaw
June 24-30: Jason Kipnis
June 17-23: Ryan Howard
June 10-16: Carlos Gonzalez
June 3-9: Yasiel Puig
May 26-June 2: Domonic Brown
May 20-26: Mike Trout
May 13-19: Justin Masterson
May 6-12: Evan Longoria
April 29-May 5: Ryan Raburn
April 22-28: Jeff Locke
April 15-21: Mike Trout
April 8-14: Prince Fielder
Ryan Gorcey covers Major League Baseball and publishes BearTerritory.net for Scout.com and FOX Sports NEXT. Follow him on twitter at @RGBearTerritory.