If a Spring Training game happens but nobody pays attention to it, does it still make a sound? Answer: I don't know, because MLB's website didn't let me listen to the radio feed today for some reason. It's good, though, that Bud Selig keeps such a tight wrap on these highly in-demand Spring Training games. There must be literally dozens of people around the country willing to pay money to listen to the radio feeds.
The A's did indeed play a game against the Rangers today, and it went the full 9 innings. In the 2nd, Dan Straily gave up two runs on a couple of singles and an error by Cespedes. I didn't see or hear the error, but based on the play-by-play on Gameday, it sounds like the hit fell in cleanly (it was ruled a single) but Cespy clanked it trying to reel it in. Either way, it doesn't sound like Straily's "bad" inning was all that bad. Jed Lowrie got one of the runs back with a bases-loaded single in the 3rd, and then things were quiet until the 7th. The A's Mighty Minor Leaguers plated a pair of runs on a single by, you guessed it, Shane Peterson. He has now surpassed 100 RBI this spring*, becoming the first player ever to do that in the Cactus League. Unfortunately, Ryan Cook imploded in the bottom half of the inning, and Texas came back for a 4-3 victory. Both of the fans in the stands applauded respectfully, according to sources.
Let's have a look at some key A's players:
Dan Straily had a positive outing today. In the 1st, he unleashed his slider for the first time this spring, and used it to strike out the side (Ian Kinsler, Lance Berkman, and Adrian Beltre, all swinging, sandwiched around a walk to Jurickson Profar). His "rough" 2nd inning amounted to 3 singles, and in the 3rd he retired Profar, Berkman, and Beltre in order on 5 pitches (yes, Gameday's pitch counts work now). If you were looking for something encouraging from Straily, then you got it today.
Ryan Cook, however, did not have a good day. After retiring the first two batters in the 7th, Cook's line went like this: homer to non-prospect Brandon Snyder, bloop single, walk, line-drive RBI single, walk (Pat Neshek then came in to end the inning). Everyone after Snyder was a minor-leaguer whom I've never heard of. Actually, Snyder is also a minor-leaguer whom I don't think I've heard of. If he was worth anything as a Brandon, then he'd have been an Athletic last year. The only thing which worries me at all about Cook's day is the walks - but then, we already knew that he is prone to lapses in control. This was a bad outing, but don't let it get you down. He's not fighting for a job, so he's probably just tuning up.
The rest of the pitching was done by Garrett Olson, who LOOGY'd his way into retiring both batters he faced; Chris Resop, who struck out a pair en route to recording 4 outs; Evan Scribner, who gave up a hit but struck out A.J. Pierzynski to finish off his clean inning of work; and Neshek, who faced 5 batters, retiring 4 of them (2 on strikeouts) and allowing a double to a guy named Konrad. That's Konrad with a "K."
On the offensive side of the ball, the usual suspects came through for Oakland today. To illustrate that point, here is how the A's scored their two runs in the 7th: walk to Jefry Marte, flyout by Addison Russell, single by Andy Parrino, strike out by Chris Young (including a wild pitch to move the runners up), 2-run single by Shane Peterson. Sounds like every other game so far this spring. As for the regulars, Brandon Moss added a pair of singles, Coco and Lowrie each had a hit, and Cespedes singled up the middle in the 3rd to bump his average up to .158. At this rate of progress, he should be hitting .500 by the time the season starts.
The bad news came on the defensive side of the ball. Cespedes made his error in left, which we already attempted to cover but couldn't because no one saw it, and Scott Sizemore made a throwing error at 2nd. If anyone can provide deeper insight on these misplays, please do so in the comments.
That's it for today's game, and I've only written about 700 words. Let's beef this up a bit with a mini-link-dump:
- I posted this in the game thread, but it merits further mention: SB Nation has been voted the Best Website In The World by the Society for News Design! More specifically, it is the best-designed news site in the world (sports or otherwise). There is an accompanying video.
- Seth Smith was seen taking grounders at 1st base today. This doesn't mean that he's ever going to play there, but it's nice to know that someone has at least considered the possibility that he could cover that position in a pinch.
- Batting Stance Guy runs down 35 years of Oakland A's batting stances, and nails every single one. There is a big finish at the end in honor of today's birthday boy (whose identity I am specifically not revealing so as not to ruin the surprise).
- And, here's a pretty sweet picture for you.
Tomorrow will be the next installment of the FanPost Recap Contest, if anyone signs up. We have a full slate for Thursday, so this is your only other chance to do a recap for the next week. Sign-ups are re-posted in the comments!
* no he hasn't