Dallas Braden Explains How A's Rotation Can Stay Fresh as Season Winds Down

OAKLAND -- With Sunday marking the two-thirds point of the A's season, this is the time of year when some starting pitchers start to hit a bit of a wall.

Fortunately for the A's, reinforcements could soon be on the way. Left-hander Sean Manaea is expected to make his season debut in the next couple of weeks, while Marco Estrada and Jesús Luzardo could return in September. Oakland is also in the market to add another starting pitcher before Wednesday's Trade Deadline.

As it stands now, the A's rotation consists of Mike Fiers, Brett Anderson, Chris Bassitt, Daniel Mengden, and Homer Bailey. Fiers has pitched the most innings of the group at 128 2/3, but the other four are also over 100 innings between the majors and minors.

"I think right now is the time where you start to curtail your workload," said former A's pitcher and NBC Sports California analyst Dallas Braden. "You really start to fine-tune how you're going about your business in between your start days. So your rest and recovery are paramount right now. It's not as much about what you're doing on your side day. It's about how you're bouncing back from your heavy day of work -- your game day -- what's your day after like?"

The A's have an off-day on Monday, which will give the entire rotation an extra day of rest. In fact, Oakland has four of the next 15 days off. That should help the rotation stay fresh for the upcoming stretch.

"There's definitely going to be some manipulation as far as days off, workload, weightlifting, things of that nature," Braden said. "Right now, you want to make sure that you're able to go out there and answer the bell every five days."

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Oakland's starting pitching has performed much better than many baseball experts expected. Entering Sunday, A's starters had combined for a 4.23 ERA, fifth-best in the American League. They also rank fourth with a .245 opponents' batting average.

If the A's rotation can continue that type of success, Oakland will have a great chance to reach the postseason for a second straight year.

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