The first inning of today’s game took 56 minutes. The contest was played in 55-degree weather, worsened by 22 MPH winds blowing from left to right. So yeah, not your typical Sunday afternoon Cactus league game.
The matchup featured a fairly potent Oakland lineup against a largely unfamiliar Angels squadron. It seems they’re exercising even more caution than the A’s when it comes to getting regular MLB players Cactus League playing time. The list of notable A’s who saw action includes Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Young, and Jed Lowrie. They faced off against a Los Angeles team that included Vernon Wells and Mark Trumbo.
It was an eventful first inning: Coco led the game off with a single, and Young got his Oakland career off to a fantastic start with a ringing double that scored Crisp. Angels RF Kole Calhoun then misplayed a deep Seth Smith drive to right field, which allowed Young to score and set the table for Cespedes.
For the second year in a row, Yoenis began his spring with a walk, bringing up Lowrie. Jed’s debut in the green and gold wasn’t quite as impressive as Young’s —narrowly avoided grounding into a double play, beating out the throw to first. Seth Smith then scored on a Scott Sizemore sac fly.
Daric Barton — well, Barton debuted a beard that brings the words “gross”, “horrid”, “icky”, and the like to mind. I’m no fan of Reddick’s latest facial hair concoction, but this was worse. Anyway, Barton singled on a ground ball up the middle, forcing Mike Scioscia to yank Enright. Derek Norris bounced out to first to end the inning against new Halos hurler Jarrett Grube, with the A’s leading 3-0.
The only notable occurrence of the bottom of the 1st inning was Young making a phenomenal, leaping grab over his head on a Brendan Harris fly ball. Unfortunately, this led to a quad cramp, and Michael Taylor replaced him in the batting order and in the field in the 2nd inning.
Fast forward to the bottom of the 3rd, when the score was 3-1 A’s. Brian Gordon was on the mound for Oakland, having replaced Travis Blackley after just an inning of work. A Jed Lowrie error, Calhoun double, Harris triple, and Cowart sac fly plated 3 runs for the Angels, giving them a 4-3 lead.
In the 4th, the Adam Rosales walked and then scored on a Coco double, tying the game.
Miles Head and Addison Russell both saw their first action in an Oakland A’s uniform in the top of the 6th. Head reached on an error, allowing Addison to come to bat with two out and a runner on first. He popped out to right field on a 2-1 pitch, ending the frame.
Michael Choice led off the 7th inning by crushing a double to left that one-hopped the wall. Eric Sogard failed to bunt him over to second on consecutive pitches, but it didn’t matter once he doubled to left center field. Choice, holding at second to see if that ball would be caught, advanced only to third. Perez then doubled to right, scoring both runs, but was thrown out on a close play at third.
In the bottom half, with Pat Neshek pitching, A’s Catcher Luke Montz made an iffy throw to Sogard at 2B on a steal attempt by Carlos Ramirez, but Sogard recovered nicely and made a great tag to end the inning.
In the 8th, Russell doubled to right field off of Manny Correa, one of the day’s highlights. He looked poised and comfortable in both of his at-bats today. Choice then singled Addison home — that phrase alone should be music to the ears of any Oakland fan.
James Simmons closed the game for the A’s with a 1-2-3 inning, giving Oakland its first Cactus league victory. The time of the game was 3:47, but in my opinion the contest well worth watching for Young’s catch, the 8th inning in which Russell and Choice both had hits, and Coco’s offensive outburst.
Overall, tons of encouraging signs today. Russell and Choice's back-to-back hits come to mind, as well as Coco's hitting, Young's catch, Sogard's tag, and more. Given the extended spring, it's tough to know when to start valuing games and individual performances as being relevant, but the fact that we haven't had a Scott Sizemore incident (knock on wood) is enough to make me content with this Spring's results so far.
The A’s play again tomorrow at 12:05 PT, opening their Cactus League home slate at Phoenix Muni. They take on a 4-0 Cleveland team, not that win/loss means anything in late February.
If you liked the recap, remember to throw me a rec below to get this bumped up to the front page! Thanks for reading.
Editor's Note: Congratulations eastbaywolverine on your victory in the first Spring Training recap battle of 2013! Rather than going game-by-game as previously stipulated, I am going to add signups for the next three games: Tue 2/26 vs Arizona, Fri 3/1 vs San Francisco, and Sun 3/3 vs Colorado. There won't necessarily always be 3 games per week, but we're going to start big. Respond to the specific signup comment for the game which you want to recap; first three to signup get the game, with the exception being that eastbaywolverine gets his pick of whichever one of those three games he wants (even if someone else signs up before him). Thanks for voting, everyone! -Alex
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