How A’s pitchers have fared at the plate throughout their careers

It’s always weird to see an A’s pitcher with a bat in his hand.

Frankie Montas went 0-for-2 in Friday’s 9-5 road win over the Colorado Rockies but was still bragging about his weak groundout in the bottom of the second inning.

It got me thinking — who will be the first A’s pitcher to record a hit this season?

Oakland has seven games in National League parks remaining in 2021, with two more at Coors Field this weekend, a three-game set in San Francisco in late June and two contests at San Diego in late July.

The A’s haven’t received a hit from a pitcher since Homer Bailey went 2-for-3 with an RBI on Aug. 14, 2019 at Oracle Park against the Giants. Also shoutout to Brett Anderson for going 4-for-8 at the plate that year for the A’s. What a slugger.

Wondering the last time an A’s pitcher hit a dinger? You’d have to go back to before the designated hitter — Sept. 4, 1972 — when John “Blue Moon” Odom hit a solo shot off California Angels reliever Tom Dukes. Odom is also the franchise home run leader for a pitcher with his 12 round-trippers, one better than Lefty Grove.

Here’s a pitcher-by-pitcher look at the 2021 A’s starting staff’s career numbers at the plate.

Cole Irvin: 1-for-6, 2 BB, 2 K

If I were a betting man — which I would be with more money — my guess is that Cole Irvin would have the best shot of any A’s starter to get a hit. His best chance could happen Saturday night in the Mile High City, where the ball was flying in the summer heat in Friday’s series opener.

Irvin owns the best batting average of any A’s starter (.167) and his first career hit came in 2019 with the Phillies against Cole Hamels. The southpaw also swings left-handed, which is good considering lefties are hitting .444 against Colorado’s Kyle Freeland in two starts this year, opposed to righties (.250).

Also gotta be impressed by Irvin’s two walks in eight plate appearances, leading to his whopping .375 on-base percentage. That type of patient approach fits right in with Oakland’s philosophy.

James Kaprielian: No MLB at-bats

Rookie right-hander James Kaprielian is set to start in Sunday’s series finale in Colorado.

Kap hasn’t taken an at-bat in his three MLB starts and didn’t have any plate appearances in 66 college games with UCLA, meaning the last time he swung a bat could have been his senior year at Beckman high school in Irvine, Calif. as a senior in 2012.

Nine years between plate appearances is a lot, but Kaprielian is the best athlete on the staff and he’s got ultra competitive qualities. He’ll get his shot against Rockies righty German Marquez, who has allowed the second-most hits (58) on Colorado’s staff this season.

Chris Bassitt: 0-for-8, 5 K, sac bunt

The A’s ace made some fans hold their breath earlier this year when he appeared to show discomfort after a swing in Arizona.

For some reason, he swung again later in the at-bat but hasn’t shown any ill effects on the mound since.

No offense to Bassitt, but he just didn’t look like he really had a chance up there with the toothpick. Would love to see him get another chance up there to acquit himself, but I bet manager Bob Melvin wouldn’t want him swinging.

Sean Manaea: 1-for-10, 1 BB, 3 K

Irvin might want to bug Sean Manaea for some hitting tips on Saturday before he faces Freeland. Back on July 27, 2018, Manaea notched a single for his only MLB hit off the Colorado starter.

Manaea actually hasn’t had an at-bat since that fateful game three summers ago, so if he got a knock in his next game would that count as a two-game hit streak? Manaea and Irvin should have a side bet going to see who will be the first guy to achieve multihit MLB status. Prove that their lone hit wasn’t just a fluke, you know?

Manaea is also a right-handed batter and I don’t recall what he looks like in the batter’s box, but hope we get to see it again later this season.

Frankie Montas: 0-for-8, 6 K, BB

Gotta love how much fun Frankie Montas was having with his ABs following Friday night’s 0-fer. If he was this happy after going hitless, just imagine how stoked he’d be after a single.

But, like he said, at least he made contact on a 95 mph heater from Rockies right-hander Jon Gray and didn’t whiff.

While Frankie’s numbers are no bueno in the box, I’m rooting for him to get a hit just to see his big smile upon reaching first base.