Well, that sucked.
This really did feel like the first legitimate competition of the year for the club — no Humber coming in during the 8th inning, no AAA filler playing important positions, just the actual A’s players playing an actual team. And… they really didn’t do good. Such is spring training, I suppose. At least it was a taste of real live baseball.
Let’s start with the positives: Sonny Gray was phenomenal. He looked absolutely on tonight. 5.2 innings, three hits, one walk, zero earned runs, seven Ks. He just continues to show why he is going to be one of the top young pitchers in the major leagues next year. All of his pitches worked perfectly — his fastball was well placed and hit 94 in his last inning, and his curveball was completely unhittable. I’m so stoked to see what he can do over 200 innings.
The setup men were just about perfect too, with Doolittle and Gregerson combining for zero runs and two strikeouts. Johnson was less good, conceding two earned runs by way of a solid triple and a sac fly, but I'm not too concerned about him.
Before I talk about the offense, it’s important to realize that the lighting at the spring training arenas is terrible. Which means hitting during night games is rough. I’d say that was the biggest factor in the pitching duel that developed — all the pitchers looked great, but there really should’ve been more activity. In conditions like that, it’s very difficult for the players to pick up the spin and make solid contract.
This went for both teams — all night, there were maybe three or four solid line drives, and only Donaldson managed to hit a ball that went as far as the warning track.
That leads us to the obvious, bad news: the lineup looked borderline incompetent. Lowrie and Cespedes both went home with golden sombreros, and the team as a whole struck out 12 times. No one managed to draw a walk. The only players who even got singles were Donaldson and Jaso, and Jaso’s hit was immediately erased by a pretty inexcusable TOOTBLAN.
Reddick left the game with "contact lens complications", whatever that means. He really should take a page from the #FaceOfTheMLB and get rid of those things.
Lowrie, Moss, and Punto each went home with errors — although the Lowrie error was more due to Moss’s problem receiving. That’s not to say that he was any good, he still allowed two infield hits on plays he should’ve made and one classic Past A Diving Lowrie play.
It might be time to get worried about Cespedes’s spring performance. After his latest golden sombrero in a spring with more sombreros than a birthday at a cheap TexMex restaurant, it’s become increasingly obvious that his swing has not changed at all. Maybe he’s due for a resurgence soon — I won’t make any judgements until the regular season.
I swear, I’m not scared. I have total belief in him. C’mon, guys. He'll be just fine, just don't look at his stats or watch him play or anything dumb like that.
So, yeah. That was depressing. But after scoring 83 runs in the last 8 games, maybe we were due for an depressing shutout.
God, I hate the Giants.