By Matt Snyder
The Oakland A's already carry the best ERA (2.69) in the majors
The next closest mark in the American League is 3.07 (the Angels, who have plenty of credit to give to Dan Haren and Jered Weaver on that mark). With a stellar rotation and solid bullpen, the A's have proven early in the season to have the best top-to-bottom pitching staff in baseball.
And they're about to get reinforcements.
Andrew Bailey, the closer who has been sidelined all season with a forearm injury, threw 30 pitches Saturday night in simulated game action. He even mixed in his first breaking pitches of the season. (SFgate.com ) It would appear Bailey's ready to go on a rehab assignment quite soon. Since he's only a reliever, once that happens he'll be in the majors in no time.
Through two seasons in his young career, Bailey has 51 saves, a 1.70 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 133 strikeouts in 132 1/3 innings.
Meanwhile, Joey Devine -- who has been sidelined for two years after Tommy John surgery -- has yet to allow a run in 8 1/3 innings at Triple-A Sacramento. He's struck out 12 batters with zero walks.
It's very feasible the A's add those two talented arms to the back-end of the bullpen by the third week of May. Between those two, the experience of Brian Fuentes and the fine work the A's are getting from Grant Balfour, Michael Wuertz and Brad Ziegler, it's safe to say the A's are going to continue to own opposing hitters for the rest of the season.
Of course, they could always use more run support. The reason the A's are only .500 with such a superior pitching staff is because the offense ranks 13th (of 14) in runs scored.
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