Kilby turning heads out of A's bullpen

Kilby turning heads out of A's bullpen

OAKLAND -- A's left-hander Brad Kilby gave up the first run of his 23-day big league career on Wednesday, but it was unearned.

In posting a 0.00 ERA in his first eight outings after being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Sept. 1, Kilby has earned only praise for his work out of the bullpen.

"All of his pitches are above-average," said Oakland manager Bob Geren, who'll give the rival Angels their first look at Kilby at some point during the three-game series that opens Friday in Anaheim. "He's tough against lefties and righties. He goes right after guys. He throws strikes. There's lot to like."

Kilby, a 26-year-old Northern California (Elk Grove, near Sacramento) native listed at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, was a 29th-round pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft out of San Jose State.

He went 4-2 with a 2.13 ERA in 45 appearances at Sacramento this season and stands out to a degree because of his deceptive delivery, in which he takes the ball out of his glove during his leg kick and puts it behind his back before slinging it homeward.

It's a decidedly funky look, but nobody's arguing with the results.

"He's got a very sneak fastball," said Geren, who likened the motion to that of former Mets star Sid Fernandez, another heavyset southpaw. "He throws it in the low 90s, but it 'plays up' because he hides it real well."

Kilby is auditioning for a roster spot in 2010, and Geren likes his ability to pitch on consecutive days and handle righties and lefties.

"It's a luxury to have [more than one lefty in the bullpen]," said the skipper. "But most opponents don't stack their [left-handed hitters] together; they kind of space them out, so it is nice to have a guy you can bring in maybe the sixth or seventh, and another for that big situation in the seventh or eighth.

"But [having two lefties] isn't necessarily an advantage unless they're fairly dominant against left-handers."

Kilby held left-handed hitters to a .234 batting average for Sacramento; righties hit him at a .150 clip.

Pitching matchup
OAK: LHP Gio Gonzalez (5-6, 6.15 ERA)
Gonzalez couldn't get out of the fourth inning for the second straight start his last time out; he's given up eight earned runs and 10 hits over his last 6 2/3 innings. A 23-year-old rookie with a plus curveball but iffy command, Gonzalez made one start against the Angels, giving up four runs and walking five in three innings on Aug. 27, 2008, in Anaheim.

LAA: RHP Jered Weaver (15-7, 3.87 ERA)
Weaver got an extra day between starts, and if anyone has earned it, he's the guy. The only Angels starter not to miss a turn, Weaver is coming off a solid six innings in Texas, yielding three earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four men. He reached 200 innings for the first time in his four seasons, a testament to his increased stamina and endurance. Weaver has been stellar at home (9-2, 2.89 in 16 starts) and has a strange history with the Athletics, going 2-2 in nine outings despite an excellent ERA of 2.93.

Dribblers ...
Outfielder Scott Hairston (left hip, back) missed his third consecutive start Thursday. ... The A's have secured their first winning month since June 2008. ... Third catcher Eric Munson recently spoke with third baseman Eric Chavez and said Chavez, recovering from back surgery, is "doing great." Munson and Chavez were high school stars together in San Diego. ... Geren on Thursday went out of his way to compliment the work of strength and conditioning coach Bob Alejo, particularly what Alejo has done to keep the team's young starting pitchers from wearing down late in the year. "They don't look tired at all," Geren said. ... Oakland's three errors on Thursday gave the club 96 on the year with nine games remaining. The A's have made fewer than 100 errors in each of the past five seasons, matching the longest such streak in big league history. ... Oakland is 8-11-5 in road series this season.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

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Up next
• Saturday: Athletics (Dana Eveland, 2-3, 6.50) at Angels (John Lackey, 11-8, 3.56), 6:05 p.m. PT
• Sunday: Athletics (Edgar Gonzalez, 0-3, 5.22) at Angels (Joe Saunders, 14-7, 4.63), 12:35 p.m. PT
• Monday: Off-day

Mychael Urban is a national writer for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.