One of my co-workers is from the Dominican Republic. She's pretty excited about going to the DR vs. Netherlands power matchup in the WBC today. I was happy to see that someone was excited about baseball, as I (and I'm fairly certain, most of you) were so not excited about yet another A's-M's matchup, especially one in spring training. At least I know how athleticsperson01 feels. I hate being bored by a sport that I love so much. It's unnatural. Get on with this already people.
Coco Crisp apparently had an amazing catch to rob Jesus Montero of a home run, good to see him do that.
Coco Crisp just stole a home run from Jesus Montero, and that's not a tiny wall out there in CF at Phoenix Muni. #Athletics— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) March 18, 2013
Eric Sogard continued his "assault on the baseball" (quoting the NASA transmission) with a scorching double off of an actual MLB pitcher (Lucas Luetge). He's hitting .516 for the spring. I still don't really think there's a job he can win absent an injury. Rosales is a better fielder, plays more positions, and is at least a comparable hitter, and I don't see the A's giving up on Nakajima this quickly. However, I think of the time my friend asked me why I took a picture of a random fan wearing an A's jersey and I had to explain that it was Sogard, so it's hard not to root for the guy.
Derek Norris got the A's on the board first in the bottom of the 4th with a two-run blast off Hisashi Iwakuma, scoring Jed Lowrie who reached via a walk. To that point, A.J. Griffin had pitched four scoreless innings (with the aforementioned help from Coco). However, the Mariners would strike for three runs in the 5th with two doubles, a solid single, and a walk to tie it up. All of them seemed like hard hit balls, but the good news is at this stage he was able to get through four scoreless. "It's still early."
Another highlight was the A's tying the game in the bottom of the 5th, thanks to good fundamentals. Rosales and Crisp were on base (via HBP and single, respectively). Melvin called a hit and run, Robert Andino went to cover second on the potential throw to get Crisp, and Josh Reddick lined a double straight through the gap that Andino had just vacated. Great execution by Reddick to drive in Rosales. Of course, it wouldn't be an A's inning if they didn't proceed to load the bases and have Jed Lowrie line out to end it.
The Mariners continued flexing their muscles, scoring two more in the 6th (one run via a Michael Morse solo shot of Griffin, his sixth homer of the spring). I think the A's would have liked A.J. to get through the 6th but he only managed one out before being removed in favor of Ryan Cook. Cook continued to look shaky, giving up one hit (run charged to Griffin) in the process of getting the last two outs.
On a side note, as maligned as the Morse-Jaso-Cole trade was (from the Mariners' perspective) I think Morse might actually be a good pickup for them. At the very least, he'll make a boring team less boring.
Pedro Figueroa pitched a solid 7th, but unraveled in the 8th inning, giving up a walk and a HBP before being removed for Neshek. Neshek managed to give up another walk but only allowed one of the inherited runners to score. That would prove to be the difference.
Despite the best efforts of the weak-hitting middle infield crew, i.e. Sogard (the aforementioned double), Rosales (single), and Weeks (single, sac fly to drive in Sogard), the A's couldn't overcome Griffin's five earned runs and took the loss.
All in all, more offense than your typical A's-M's matchup, but being that it's in Arizona, we can expect a return to normalcy when the teams play in the comfort of the marine layer.
Anyone who was there, please feel free to add your own personal insights!