It can't be stated enough how little these spring games mean. Our cleanup hitter (Yoenis Cespedes) is batting .077 and I'm completely okay with that. Entering today the A's were trailing the M's by 4.5 games in the standings and I'm not sweating it one bit, my name is Danwise and I shall now take you to the game recap.
The Oakland Athletics sent sophomore Tom Milone to the hill and he delivered a great line today in this his second appearance of the spring. Milone pitched a very economical three innings of work allowing 0 Runs on 3 Hits 1 Walk while collecting 3 strikeouts. The game started auspiciously for the left hander as he led off the game with an uncharacteristic 5 pitch walk to former Oriole Robert Andino. Unrattled, Tommy promptly picked Andino off of first (and from the radio broadcast it sounds like he was hardly taking much of a lead).
The opposing pitcher for the Mariners is former 2008 23rd round pick Brandon Maurer, who has yet to see any Major League time in his baseball career thus far. He'd face an MLB caliber lineup today, however, as Bob Melvin sent out what could very well be an opening day lineup; Something Eric Wedge would not reciprocate as they sent us a split squad team featuring just a lone representative of what one would assume to be an everyday player, in AL West thorn in our side, Kendrys Morales.
Maurer pitched very well in his own right as the first 3 innings of today was what we'd expect when these two teams meet: a low scoring affair featuring young, talented pitching. The Swingin' A's came out hot early as Coco Crisp (1-3) and Hiroyuki Nakajima (2-3, RBI) greeted him with back to back singles to open up the A's half of the game. As we're far too accustomed, though, the A's would fail to score after Josh Reddick (1-2, BB, RBI) popped up to the infield on the first pitch he saw; Cespedes (1-4, 2Ks, RBI) would strike out and Brandon Moss (0-4) hit a harmless groundball to first to end the threat. Brandon Maurer later would do his best Brandon Morrow impersonation as he struck out three consecutive batters between the 2nd and 3rd innings. The A's luckily managed to force through a run in the 3rd as Hiro would collect his second hit of the afternoon, advance to 2nd on a balk and then score on a Cespy RBI single up the middle. Maurer left with a line of 3IP 1ER 4H 1BB 4K.
The A's would tack on 3 runs in the bottom half against James Paxton who was anything but sharp. Chris Young looked great at the plate hitting the ball hard in each of his first two appearances (1-2, BB). Jed Lowrie (1-2, 2R-HR) and Scott Sizemore (0-2, BB) each walked on either side of a Derek Norris (1-3, RBI) RBI single.
Fast forward to the 6th inning where the A's implemented a full shift change. All eight starting fielders exited for a new collection of Athletics: Scott Moore, Andy Parrino (1-1, HR) Adam Rosales, Grant Green (throwing error), Darwin Perez, Luke Montz, Michael Choice, and Shane Peterson (1-2, 13th Hit of spring). Top pitching prospect Sonny Gray almost got out of a bases loaded, 1 out situation, until defensive wanderer Grant Green airmailed a potential double play ball over firstbaseman Moore's head allowing two to score.
Light hitting middle infielder's Robert Andino and Andy Parrino would each collect solo homeruns to join Jed Lowrie as long ball hitters for the afternoon.
It wouldn't be Baseball without a former Athletics sighting, this one coming courtesy of Jeremy Bonderman, a one time 1st round pick (2001) with Oakland. Bonderman pitched very well allowing only one run to score in 3 innings, that off the aforementioned bat of Parrino. Jeremy would finish out the game going 3IP 3H 1R 0B 2K
To round out the pitching performances today was Pedro Figueroa who handled a scoreless 5th and Andrew Werner who took care of the 8th and 9th without trouble.
Each team collected 11 hits today, but it was the A's who came out on top with a final score of 7-3. And with that the A's climb back to .500 (6-6) in a stat that matters to no one. The A's will travel to Peoria tomorrow to take on the Mariners one more time.