Last season, 1/4 of the time the A's impotent offense managed one run or none at all, prompting Billy Beane to go out and improve Oakland's lineup so that young pitchers - guys like Dallas Braden and Trevor Cahill, for example, would have a margin for error as they got their feet wet in the big leagues.
The A's managed only three hits today, none until the 7th inning, but parlayed back-to-back leadoff doubles, by Ryan Sweeney and Chris Denorfia, into the game's only run. Meanwhile, Braden was 6 up 6 down perfect, as was Cahill, who did not allow a ball out of the infield (4 ground balls, 2 Ks). Tyson Ross worked a perfect 9th to save what turned out to be a combined 3-hit shutout by a bevy of young pitchers: Braden, Cahill, Jeff Gray, Andrew Bailey, Chris Schroeder, Jared Lansford, and Ross.
Oakland pitchers walked only one batter all game, issued by Bailey in the 6th inning when a bloop single and infield hit combined with the walk to load the bases with two out. Bailey ran the count full to Kelly Shoppach but fanned Shoppach to turn back the Indians' biggest threat by far.
They say that early in the Cactus League, the pitchers are generally ahead of the hitters, and today hardly offered a compelling rebuttal.