GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As an Oakland right field bleacher denizen told me Monday, the Arizona Fall League today is what spring training was 20 years ago. Smaller crowds. A foul ball that can be yours if you are willing to stroll three or four sections over to collect it before a handful of children scramble to collect their cowhide-covered ball. If you sit behind the dugouts you can hear snippets of conversation.
You'd mistake the atmosphere for an independent league game if it wasn't for the quality of play and the stadium built to accommodate 13,000 fans.
Chad Pinder was 0-for-5 today, struck out three times, couldn't hit a ball out of the infield, and couldn't make a play on a bouncing single up the middle. By the line score, it was just one of those days, but it ends a six-game hitting streak for Pinder in Mesa.
Pinder was unfortunate not to earn an infield single on his third plate appearance of the night after Dodgers prospect Kyle Farmer made an outstanding play to his left to retire Pinder by a step on a strong throw while on the run and spinning:
I'm not much of a scout, but I did take video of Pinder's first plate appearance, in which he popped out to third base.
Jaycob Brugman went 1-for-4 with a single and a strikeout. Here's his second plate appearance, where he grounded out to the pitcher:
Kris Hall was the only A's pitcher tonight. Hall's black beard and high socks (but not the delivery) remind me of Pat Neshek:
Unfortunately, the results of Hall's pitching tonight did not remind me of Pat Neshek. After retiring his first batter on a decently hit fly ball down the left field line, Adam Engel hit a very hard line drive to the center field wall that would have been a double instead of a triple had Jaycob Brugman not misplayed the carom.
It did not end up mattering much, as Hall conceded another hard line drive to the center field wall (this time to Austin Meadows) to score Engel. This time, however, Brugman fielded the ball well as Meadows showed no signs of stopping at the double he earned. Brugman made a strong throw to Chad Pinder, who in turn relayed a one bouncer to third baseman Jeimer Candeleiro to tag Meadows out on a wonderful 8-6-5 play that could have been featured in a Tom Emanski defensive drills VHS.
The Mesa Solar Sox lost 5-3 to the Glendale Desert Dogs, and the Solar Sox fall to 5-17 in the Arizona Fall League schedule. Tuesday, Mesa goes to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick to play the Surprise Saguaros (playing in Scottsdale while Surprise Stadium undergoes renovations). That game starts at 11:35 Pacific Time.