Bass, who debuted as a reliever with the Padres a year ago, was moved to the rotation early this season, but has struggled to get past the sixth inning in many of his outings this year. In his most recent start, for example, Bass twirled five scoreless innings against the Brewers before a sixth-inning collapse that saw four Milwaukee runs.
Such has been the trend for Bass, who was 2-3 with a 2.94 ERA in his first eight starts, but 0-2 with a 8.14 ERA in his last four. He hasn't pitched beyond the sixth inning since May 15 against the Nationals, his last win.
"It always seems like it happens in the sixth inning for some reason," Bass said. "It's like those first five innings, I feel like I can pitch with the best of them."
Fortunately for Bass, he won't have to worry about "the best of them" Friday, as Oakland's offense is in the Majors' bottom five in both batting average and runs scored. But the A's have been heating up of late, particularly in their three-game sweep of the Rockies. In their last three games (all, it should be noted, at hitter-friendly Coors Field), the A's hit .313 with 35 hits, nine homers, and 32 runs scored.
Oakland will send lefty Travis Blackley -- another pitcher who started the season in the bullpen -- to the hill to try to outlast Bass. Blackley, who was designated for assignment by San Francisco in May after posting a 9.00 ERA in four relief appearances, is making his fourth start since being claimed off waivers by the A's. In his last outing, a Sunday loss against Arizona, Blackley failed to make it through the fifth, taking the loss as he surrendered four runs in 4 2/3 innings.
"I think he's probably gotten behind more the last couple starts," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He needs to be a little bit more economical with his pitches, and that means getting ahead ... His stuff looks pretty good."
A's: Cespedes available to DH this weekend
After aggravating his left hamstring injury Wednesday in his first game since June 5, Yoenis Cespedes may be available to DH in this weekend's series against the Padres. A's manager Bob Melvin said that removing Cespedes early in Wednesday's contest was "precautionary," as the 26-year-old was slow to walk off the field following his first-inning groundout, and then felt discomfort going after a fly ball in the bottom of the inning.
With a .273 average, the Cespedes is the A's second-leading hitter behind Josh Reddick (.275) and their cleanup man when healthy. His six home runs and four stolen bases mark the third-highest total of all Major League rookies in those categories, and he is second only to Mariners' catcher Jesus Montero in RBIs among rookies with 26.
Padres: Interleague series success
With their three-game sweep against Seattle this week, the Padres got just their fourth series victory in 21 chances in 2012. But Interleague Play has been significantly kinder to the Padres than their normal NL schedule, as the Padres have taken four of their past five series against AL teams.
Additionally, with a series win over the Angels earlier this year and their most recent over the Mariners, the Padres have series victories over half of the AL West division but none over NL West clubs.
First baseman Nate Freiman and catcher Ali Solis of the San Antonio Missions, the Padres' Double-A affiliate, have been selected to the Southern Division All-Star roster for the Texas League All-Star Game on July 28.
The Padres have worked the second-most walks of any team in the Majors with 243 in 64 games. They are led by the ever-patient Chase Headley. The San Diego third baseman has earned 40 bases on balls, seventh-most in the Majors.
No player on the A's active roster has ever faced Bass at the Major League level, nor has any player on the current Padres squad faced Blackley in big league action.
With 23 triples on the year, the Padres are tied for the Major League lead. The NL West seems to have a propensity for three-baggers, as San Diego is tied with the division-rival Giants and Rockies as the NL's best, and the Dodgers are also in the top 10 with 14.
The A's and Padres have two of the Majors' top three stolen-base totals this season. The Padres (56) are second in baseball while Oakland (49) is in a three-way tie for third. Miami is at the head of the pack with 62 steals this season.