CLEVELAND – Jarrod Parker's chaotic season doesn't seem to be any closer to sorting itself out after the A's 7-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Monday.
Parker gave up four solo home runs in five innings. Most any normal mid-May ERA would go up with such an effort. Parker's actually went down, albeit marginally, from 7.36 to 7.34.
Seven starts into the season, Parker (1-5) has allowed fewer than four runs only twice. Since April 20, when he turned in his best effort in limiting Tampa Bay to one run (in a loss, no less), he has made three starts and allowed 14 runs (13 earned) in 16 1/3 innings, an ERA of 7.18, which only serves to underscore how statistically dismal his first three starts were.
The A's are unlikely to make an immediate change but probably won't wait much longer for Parker to turn things around. Brett Anderson is due to come off the disabled list in a week, and if Dan Straily is pitching better than Parker at the time, Parker could be the odd man out.
Parker, who said his neck was sore before the game, said following the game his neck has been an issue.
"It's something that's been bothering me for a little bit," he said. "Obviously, those are pitches up in the zone. They're semi-uncharacteristic. I don't think, if I'm feeling 100 percent, they would be in that location."
Parker has given up eight homers in 34 1/3 innings. Last season, he allowed just 11 in 181 1/3 innings.
"It's not like him," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He's a guy you don't expect to get hit. Sometimes he's a little bit wild, but I would say the amount of home runs he's given up is not him. He's had a couple of good starts. He's had some bad starts. He hasn't got to where he's consistent yet."
With the A's muzzled early on by the Indians' Ubaldo Jimenez, the home runs put the A's in a big hole.
That hole was created early as the second and third Cleveland hitters of the game, Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera, went deep.
Parker hopes his neck improves but realizes he may need to take some time off.
"We'll see how it feels and go from there," he said. "If need be, it's early, and it's something we don't want to continue and snowball and build into something worse."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.