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Offense Picks Up Braden After Bad Inning

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Manager Bob Geren just announced the A’s rotation to start the season. The first four are as expected: LH Dallas Braden, rookie RH Trevor Cahill, LH Dana Eveland, rookie LH Brett Anderson, and then in the final spot, it’s Josh Outman, who will pitch the home opener. Sean Gallagher, if he makes the club, will be working in the bullpen. He’s now on the schedule to pitch in relief on Friday at San Francisco.

A's 8, Cubs 8

Hey, guess what?!

You’ll never guess.

Dallas Braden, the A’s ace (haha) and announced starting pitcher for Opening Day (haha) had a really bad inning; he gave up six runs in the third, capped off by a grand slam! No, really? What? April Fools? Darn it! I was hoping you wouldn’t look at the date!

I wish.

If you watched the game just for the third inning, Dallas Braden did not inspire much confidence in his pitching prowess less than a week before the start of the season. The above description is true; the Cubs batted around in the third, as they destroyed Braden’s line. Geovany Soto hit a grand slam to finish off the third inning scoring, and it’s probably best that the Cubs’ offense hits in the National League. Let’s recap the third: Double, sac bunt, single, walk, single, hit by pitch, grand slam, single, fly-out, and finally, mercifully, a pick-off to end the inning.

However, Braden only allowed two singles and one walk his first time through the lineup, and although he couldn’t buy an out the second time through, he did come back out for the fourth and fifth innings, allowing only another single. Not that you can erase an entire inning, but the start wasn’t as bad as the line will read. Not to mention, there isn’t anything we can do about it; Braden has been officially named the Opening Day starter, and will start in Anaheim on Monday night, so go offense! (Good news: The offense sure likes Braden.)

Andrew Bailey replaced Braden in the sixth, and promptly gave up another homerun to Soto; his first earned run of the spring. It was followed shortly by an unearned run, as the Cubs staked themselves to an 8-3 lead, but that was the end of their scoring.

A Matt Holliday single brought in the first run for the A’s, and Travis Buck’s homerun brought in two more. The A’s scored again in the seventh, on a Danny Putman single, and they added three more in the eighth on a double by Pennington (who has had a pretty great spring) and a single by Barton. The A’s would go on to tie the game in the ninth on a single by Joshua Horton, and the game was called, signaling the end of Spring Training.

The A’s roster is still trying to sort itself out; it looks like the infield will be Chavez, Cabrera, Ellis, Giambi starting, and Garciaparra and Crosby as backups. Suzuki and Powell (if healthy) will catch, and Sweeney, Buck, Holliday, Cust, and Rajai Davis will share the outfield.

The pitching is less defined. At the start of the Spring, I had Gallagher pegged for the #2 job (behind Duchscherer!), but the discussion today was whether he would start in the ‘pen, or in AAA; obviously prompted by his lack of Spring Training starts this week. That’s a surprising decline.

The Opening Day starter is Dallas Braden, and he will be joined by Eveland, Anderson, and Cahill. The fifth spot is harder to call; Outman’s excellent start yesterday may have secured him a spot on the team--if not a starting role--and if you look at the fact that he got the start and Gallagher did not, that might speak for itself. One of them will make the starting rotation; the other will be considered against Gio Gonzalez for long relief. Gonzalez, while not ready to start yet, may be sent to AAA for regular work.


[Update after the announcement: So, it looks like either Gallagher or Gonzalez will be sent to the rotation in AAA, and one will stay in long relief. It's a toss up as to who needs the AAA starts more. ]

Ziegler is the closer, with Casilla and Springer making the team as set-up men, and Bailey has probably earned a spot after his spring. Wuertz will be in the pen with him, and you would have to think that the A’s keep Blevins on the team after his numbers last season.

The official 25-man roster is not going to be announced until after the Bay Bridge series (so continue the speculation), which will start tomorrow; the final series before The. Games. Count.