The first split squad game of the year didn’t go so well. Unfortunately, part of baseball coming back is that those boring, lifeless, sad performances come back too. Every team goes through them, and they’re even more likely when the AAA lineup enters the game in the 6th inning. The late innings of spring training games are basically the least fun baseball possible. But whatever, it’s spring, and…
The A’s started off on a good note, where a double from noted ex-Royal Billy Butler scored Billy Burns and Craig Gentry and jumped the A’s to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning. Butler hasn’t been having the best spring so far in terms of average, but two of his three hits this spring have been dingers, plus today’s double. This is very good news if you’re looking for a rebound in his power next year.
Chris Bassitt, however, did not do well. There was some news of him specifically working on his changeup in today’s game, which is a great use of a spring start. Also it’s spring and this doesn’t matter. But he certainly did put up an ugly line: 3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 Ks, and lots of hard contact. He didn’t walk anybody and his velocity looked fine, so it seems like it’s just a bit of a dud early-spring start and not a big deal. Still, this is disappointing after his sparkling spring debut last week.
The A’s did mount a mini-rally in the 4th inning. It was the most spring training mini-rally of all time: after Josh Phegley reached base on a dropped 3rd strike, Royals CF Lorenzo Cain lost an Andy Parrino fly ball in the sun and allowed it to drop for a double. Eric Sogard drove in one with a single, and Sam Fuld came up with an RBI groundout. That’s about all the noise the A’s made.
Eury De La Rosa allowed one run to score in his inning, and Brad Mills struggled with his control and allowed two runs to score in his two innings. But you don’t care about that, because they were long shots to make the 25-man roster, and these games don’t matter.
This was a dumb whatever game, but what you really care about should be the individual performances. Well, you shouldn’t care about those too much, but more than the results of the games. Spring training is a mess. Here are some stray observations about some players.
- Brett Lawrie continues to have a rough spring. He went 0-4 with 2 Ks today, dropping his average to .118. He did make one stellar defensive play on a Lorenzo Cain line drive hit to his left, so the defense is coming along faster than the bat. I wouldn’t worry about it much, he’ll be the opening day 3B regardless of what happens. He could be this year’s Cespedes: terrible, awful, no-good spring followed by a great regular season.
- Billy Burns is hitting .370, went 3 for 4 today, and stole 2nd base each time he got on base. He’s quietly contending for the Eric Sogard Memorial Spring Training Mirage award, but it’d be neat if he did turn into a Craig Gentry type sooner rather than later.
- Bobby Wahl, apparently the right-handed Sean Doolittle, dominated his inning with a steady diet of 97 MPH high fastballs. He is the A’s top relief prospect (not counting RJ Alvarez), and he’s looked good this spring. I’d like to see his breaking ball more, but he’s worth paying attention to: he could potentially move to AA to start the season, and maybe — just maybe — come up this year.
- Neither Tyler Ladendorf, Andy Parrino, or Eric Sogard did anything of note today -- Sogard hit an RBI single, but singles, whatever. Parrino hit a double, but it was a routine flyball that got dropped, so no one cares. The competition for utility INF goes on.