Irvin went on the injured list just over two weeks ago due to soreness in his throwing shoulder. His season had gotten off to a strong start before that, as he threw 27 2/3 innings with a 2.93 ERA. It’s not likely Irvin can sustain that production completely, as he has a meager strikeout rate of 15.9% and a .253 BABIP, suggesting there’s a bit of good fortune helping him out so far. The advanced metrics certainly think so, with FIP placing him at 4.54, xFIP at 4.16 and SIERA at 4.26.
Still, Irvin figures to be an important part of Oakland’s staff moving forward. Daulton Jefferies was recently diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, a very significant injury that is very difficult to recover from. Even if Jefferies is able to return from the ailment, it will certainly be an extended period of time before that happens. The rotation now consists of Irvin, Frankie Montas, Paul Blackburn, James Kaprielian and Zach Logue.
Even if that crew manages to stay healthy for the next few months, the club might have to rely on their depth starters either way, as Montas is expected to be one of the most highly-targeted trade candidates as the August 2 deadline approaches. Montas was hit on his hand by a comebacker and left last night’s game, though it seems that was mostly precautionary. Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle relays word from Montas, who is playing catch today without pain. Adam Oller and Adrian Martinez have already been recalled to make starts for the big league club this year and would likely be the top options the next time a depth starter is needed.