Finally through the doldrum days of late February, the A's looked to get off on the right foot in March with the pitching debuts of Jarrod Parker, Jerry Blevins, Travis Blackley, Ryan Cook, and Sean Doolittle. Additionally, Oakland trotted out the type of lineup that you would typically expect to see against left handed starter Madison Bumgarner in the regular season (minus Seth Smith, who should never, ever, be allowed to hit against lefties, no matter how many compromising photos he has of Bob Melvin from their post season trip to Cancun). It was almost a recipe for success, but pitching let the offense down so here we (Scotty J and myself) are watching the sky fall. Below are my thoughts and high(low)lights of the game in no particular order.*
* Please take said thoughts and highlights with a grain of salt only slightly larger than the amount needed when watching Baseball Tonight discuss the A's. Only so much can be inferred over the radio from Jon Miller's sultry voice and his constant confusion between Rickie/Jemile Weeks, and Scott/Garrett Olson.
- Chris Young played a great game, flashing his leather the first play of this game on a line drive off of the bat of Angel Pagan. He would also add two singles and a run scored. He also thankfully does not look like he has any remnants of his tweaked quad from earlier this Spring.
- K's for Parker! Jarrod had a strong first start of the year, striking out a pair, and turning the only hit into a double play. Exactly what I hoped for and he delivered.
- The defense: Still very much a work in progress (as it always is this early in the Spring). Jemile again booted a routine double play ball that costed Jerry Blevins an ok looking statline. Blevins would induce a flyout and strikeout his next two batters, but at that point the damage had already been done and instead of one run, the Giants got three.
- Hits for Choice (or Choice hitting, har): It really is too bad the A's have such a crowded outfield, because Choice has been on fire. At best he can probably hope to convince Beane and Melvin to give him a look in September, as even with injuries, I think Taylor (gasp) or Peterson get called up first so that Choice can get consistent at bats in Triple A. Still, it is nice to know what we have waiting in the wings in case Cespedes falls off the cliff this year (kidding).
- ERA explosion: Oh Travis. Under any other circumstance I would throw out a bad first start by a pitcher. But when you are the swingman in a rotation AND you give up 7 runs in 1/3 innings pitched, boy it makes you wonder a little bit. Hopefully Blackley will find his big Aussie balls and come out strong in his next outing.
- Grit, Gritty, Grittiest: This was a word thrown around early and often today, but it sure was fitting. Eric Sogard almost (missed it by that much) took home the award with a two out safety squeeze in the 7th, and then stole 2nd on a poorly blocked ball. However, nothing could compare to the Giant's Bond (Brock Bond), the diminutive second baseman and a player so gritty that the Giants drafted him by accident, if Jon Miller is to be believed (I'm not even kidding). Bond would homer and double in game, helping the Giants put the game out of reach.
- In and Out, easy as pie: Cook and Dolittle came in vintage form, inducing lots of weak contact (although no strikeouts) and had no trouble getting through their innings.
- Andy Parrino: He might be my player of the game. Excellent glove at third base and turned a solo double play off of a screamer right at him and a runner on third. He also banged out two doubles. That is some good depth to have right there if Donaldson struggles at the plate.
- Norris: He didn't play very long today, but man if he puts it together in the regular season like he has this spring, the A's are going to have a hell of a platoon advantage.
- Taylor not terrible today: Shocking I know, but his single would have been a double if Rosales hadn't inexplicable decided to tag at 2nd base, instead of going halfway. He supposedly found some holes in his swing with Chili Davis that he has been working on fixing, so maybe he can finally turn the corner.
So what did we learn today? Obviously not very much, it is March 1st for god's sake, but it still sucks to lose to Giants in any game, exhibition or otherwise. We still need a lot of work on the infield defense (cough Jemile) but it looks like our Triple A offense is going to be quite impressive this year, and our MLB one shouldn't be too shabby either. Also, it wouldn't be a good Giants recap without one, so if you take the first character of every paragraph (including this one), you should be able to spell out a secret phrase and rallying cry.
Editor's Note: Congratulations Trojanbrand! You win today's FanPost Recap Contest by a Rec Score of 6-3. Check the comments section of this recap to sign up for Tues, 3/5, vs Kansas City - first three people to respond to the sign-up comment get to recap the game!