Suckfest Trifecta: A's Pitching, Offense, Defense Falter In 9-7 Loss To D-Backs

You can only blame the wind for so much.

Offensively, the A's would have been in much better shape had there been only three bases, but that pesky five-pointed one proved to be quite elusive from the git-go. With runners and second and third and nobody out in the 1st inning, the A's failed when Giambi popped up, Cust struck out, and Suzuki bounced out. Then with runners at the corners and nobody out in the 2nd inning, somehow the imposing duo of Hannahan and Patterson couldn't make even a productive out before Buck ended another inning of frustration. Next thing you know, it was 9-2 before the A's scrubs rallied against the Diamondbacks' scrubs for 5 runs in the 7th to make it interesting.

Defensively, the A's had three problems. One was the wind, which turned playable fly balls into two gift RBI hits off Edgar Gonzalez in the 1st inning. Another was Jack Hannahan, who made a pair of costly errors in the middle innings as the Diamondbacks broke open a close game. Another was Javier Herrera, who took over CF in the 6th, just in time to misjudge one fly ball into a triple and then "mine, mine, mine...yours!" one into a double.

The pitching? One positive: Despite a line that looks so-so (3IP, 4 hits, 2 ER), Edgar Gonzalez actually pitched very well, striking out 4, walking none, and generally pitching out of trouble that he hadn't even pitched into. From there, however, the pitchers seemed inspired by the performances of their position player pals.

In the 4th, Josh Outman walked the first two batters he faced and wound up charged with 4 runs on 4 hits in his 2 innings of sub-par work. I do not believe that jobs are won or lost on March 1st, but Outman becomes the first applicant for the #5 spot to turn in a stinker of a stint. In the 6th, Mike Wuertz turned in 0.2 IP that began as a Herrera-induced fit of suckitude but ended with Wuertz unable to finish the inning due to his own shortcomings.

One thing I have loved about recent A's teams is the "never give up" mentality even the most mediocre A's groups have had. Today was no exception, as at least Oakland got up off the deck from a woeful first six innings of futility and actually brought the go-ahead run to the plate as early as the 7th inning.

A final, random note. I want to give kudos to Vince Cotroneo, who in my opinion sounds so much better this Spring than before. I thought Vince sounded a little better last season, but only now would I say he sounds significantly improved from before. The difference, I think, is that his pacing is a lot more professional and he isn't "trying to do too much," the problem I felt plagued him as much as anything his first three seasons with the A's. I don't know if Vince has been coached, or whether he has just finally relaxed, but the difference is noticeable to me and as a play-by-play afficianado I am keenly aware of, and concerned with, the quality of a radio broadcast. Good work, partner - may the young pitchers come along so well!

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