In just his second season pitching in the majors, Lou Trivino is still doing the same nasty stuff from the mound that caused him to have a breakout year for the Athletics in 2018. The late-game reliever has continued to baffle batters with his arsenal of pitches that includes his infamous cutter, a 98 mph fastball and a curveball that hits around 80 mph. Astros center fielder Tony Kemp was an unfortunate victim of that last pitch on Wednesday in a 2-1 loss to Oakland.
The best responses I could come up with to the rhetorical question posed in the tweet is “cry” or “quit and find a new career,” but those aren’t exactly options that professional baseball players would be willing to take. As a result, they’re instead stuck with having to go up against a wizard on the mound who can make them look pretty damn foolish—as 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve can attest.
Trivino ended his night with three strikeouts on 1.2 IP.
Of course, these kind of performances aren’t likely to be surprising to anyone A’s fan that watched Trivino blossom into a bonafide stud last year. Even with what was essentially just a two-pitch repertoire at first, he wreaked havoc on whoever faced him in the batter’s box. He only continued to get better as he added a curveball and was able to bring his impressive regular season into the playoffs.
But even if you’re not totally surprised with how good Trivino is, you should at least still be impressed that he gotten better this season. On top of increasing his curveball usage—Paul Sporer of FanGraphs notes an 8 percent increase from last year—and improving numbers like his Zone rate (up 10 percent), first-pitch strike rate (up 9 percent) and walk rate (down 7 percent), he’s gone ahead and added a changeup to his rotation. Manager Bob Melvin said in March that the pitch “makes him go from unfair to really unfair.” Compliments like that can usually be dismissed because of a biased source, but Melvin might actually be understating how good Trivino can get with this new weapon.
I would like to take this time to offer my sincerest condolences to the Blue Jays, who have a three-game series with the A’s this weekend.