With the A's split squading today against team Italy, plenty of the A's non MLB regulars including Grant Green, Michael Choice, and Shane Peterson were given the opportunity to play several innings against the Cactus League's hottest team...the Kansas City Royals?
Hard to believe, but its true and the Royals offense was in fine form early, hurting Colon with several hard hit shots to all fields from Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar and Billy Butler. Bartolo would miss very few bats on the day, giving up seven hits and five earned runs over two innings. John Jaso would get one back for Oakland in the second, but for the most part the A's would spend the day stranding runners on the base paths in vintage pre 2012 fashion.
The good news is that after Bartolo, The A's pitchers would start rolling and shut down the Royals until the 8th, when KC would tack on 3 runs off of James Simmons, effectively putting the game out of reach.
Onto my thoughts from the game:
- The A's hitters were unusually aggressive today (minus Barton of course) with lots of first pitch swinging and they paid for it by killing innings with bad at bats in critical situations. Chris Young and Josh Donaldson were especially guilty of this.
- Grant Green continues to flash his excellent hitting ability, stoking two doubles and played a fine second base if you don't count the first inning when he literally got his glove blown off his hand by an Escobar shot. He certainly has looked the most ready 2b option so far this spring in my opinion.
- Daric Barton reverted back to his old hitting ways. He struck out looking on a questionable 3-2 pitch and with runners at 2nd and 3rd and one out, took a five pitch walk without taking the bat off his shoulder. He did play some great defense, saving a couple of potential errors from both Nakajima and Donaldson, but if he was trying to be more aggressive at the plate, it sure didn't show today.
- Hard to know what to make of Colon thus far. It looks like his velocity is there as his fastballs were clocking in the high 80's and low 90's so perhaps it was an issue of location, but that is hard to tell with the radio only broadcast. He really needs to start pitching better as our SP depth looks not nearly as great without him.
- Travis Blackley looked unfazed from his horrible first start. He was in complete control of his pitches and made quick work of the Royals in his two innings with no hits allowed and one strikeout.
- With Nakajima playing almost a full game, he was involved in several defensive plays. It looks like Nico was right on top of his arm strength. He was given a grounder deep in the hole that Donaldson couldn't reach and could only one hop it to first, and even the Barton splits couldn't save the infield single. He did however make just about every single routine play, including a 6-4 double play. And he also hit a double so all and all not a bad day for Hiro
- Freitas and Peterson continue to rip the cover off the ball, that is all. Choice disappointed by only having one hit (kidding of course).
- I'm worried Donaldson is starting to press. He went after several first pitches and chased some bad ones as well, resulting in some easy fly outs for KC. He still made a couple of good defensive plays (although Barton had to save some throws), but I wonder if Sizemore might start getting some extra work in at 3rd, especially with Green hitting as well as he has.
All and all not a great day for the Green and Gold but some bright spots with Green, Blackley and Freitas. They get a well deserved rest day before taking on a split squad Mariners team (the 2nd hottest Cactus leaguers) at 12:05pm PST. There will also be a three way recap contest so be sure to check in and vote for your favorite.