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OAKLAND -- This is about A's pitcher Jarrod Parker. The Tigers stole his lunch money on Sunday and then threw him into the bushes. And Detroit beat Oakland 10-1.

Parker gave up eight earned runs in 3? innings, and his earned run average after three starts is a bloated 10.80. If you search for an adjective to describe his pitching so far, it would have to be @#$%^& — something X-rated like that.

But this column isn't really about Parker. It's about A's baseball in general. So, stick around. But first some words about Parker whose record last year, his rookie year, was a distinguished 13-8. Parker is a Billy-Beane find, one of those players you never heard of who really can play. The A's are built on Billy-Beane finds, and the A's are very good.

Except, Parker isn't very good right now. The first two Tigers he faced scored. He gave up four runs his first two innings, the Tigers crushing the ball and the A's outfielders running all over the place trying to catch missiles in the harsh afternoon light.

Afterward, A's manager Bob Melvin came to the interview room looking shell-shocked himself. The loud percussion of Tigers' long balls was hard on the ears. Naturally, the writers asked what's going on with Parker.

"It's puzzling," Melvin said. "We wanted him to attack the strike zone and he did. He got a little bit more of the plate than he wanted."

You think?

Melvin also said, "Today, he was trying to pound the zone early on with the fastball, and he was. After what we saw last year and what we've seen at times this year, it's puzzling when he gets hit because his stuff is so good."

I asked if Melvin will take Parker out of the rotation if things continue this way. Pay close attention to Melvin's words.

"At this point in time, he'll make his next start. You have to stick with guys for a bit, certainly. And again he was, at times last year, one of the better pitchers in the American League. Something's going on right now. We just need to work on it."

Notice all the conditionals, all the hedging in Melvin's word. "At this point in time" Parker will make his next start. That means, at some point in time, he may not.

"You have to stick with guys a bit." But you'd be nuts to stick too long with guys like Parker who walk twice as many as they strike out, and can't win a game on a winning club.

"It's puzzling." That means, there's something seriously wrong and no one knows what.

Cut to Parker who stood by his locker after the game, his face a lighter shade of green. "It was one of those days," he said. "I guess I made a couple of good pitches and they hit them, and I made a couple of bad pitches and they hit them. It's not something I can dwell on. I've got to move on, turn the page and continue working."

In his final two sentences, Parker used four clich?: He can't dwell on his pitiful pitching. He has to move on. He must turn the page. He has to continue working.

What does that prove? When it comes to postgame news conferences, he already is in midseason form. When it comes to pitching, he's nowhere near midseason form. His pitching must catch up with his clich?. Life is kooky that way.

Parker continued in the same vein: "It's a quick fix. I'm going to continue to work hard and not dwell too much on what's done."

I mentioned to Parker that Melvin is puzzled about Parker. Is Parker puzzled about Parker?

"I'm not confused," he said. "I'm obviously upset. I'm not happy with what's going on. Basically, what's done is done and (I'm) moving on."

Repeat after me. Parker is moving on, and he's not dwelling on the past and he's turning the page — although many readers these days use Kindles. Someone could put those lyrics into a song.

OK, that's all you need to know about Parker. I promised I'd open this discussion to A's ball in general and here goes.

A's pitchers are very good but A's pitchers are very young — for the most part. Young pitchers do not always progress in an orderly manner. Young pitchers sometimes regress, lose their way. This may be happening to Parker. It may happen to other A's pitchers. And that means, although the A's are a contender in the American League, Melvin cannot always depend on all of his starters. It's the way of the A's.

Here's what I believe. Because A's pitchers are young and subject to regression, Melvin should not consider patience a virtue. Sure, he'll give Parker another start or two. But if Parker's ERA remains near 10 and if batters blast him, Melvin must act.

Melvin could put Parker in the bullpen. Or he could do something radical. He and Beane could send him down, send him to Triple-A Sacramento because that's where young A's pitchers come to their senses. The A's have right hander Dan Straily on the River Cats, and Straily can win in the majors. Maybe they swap Parker for Strailey at some date to be determined.

The A's have a virtual shuttle between Sacramento and Oakland. They have something like a 50-man roster counting the River Cats. Use the shuttle.

Final point: Very few spots on the A's roster are fixed. Almost everything is in flux all the time. A's baseball is different from all other baseball. Embrace it.

<cf103>For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.</cf>