The Oakland Athletics lost a spring game to the Cleveland Indians 8-3, but the big news coming out of A's camp are hints that Ryan Cook may not be locked into a bullpen spot after several terrible performances thus far. Chris Bassitt had a tough day, and the hitting just had a bit of an off day this afternoon.
For the most part, it was a bad day for Chris Bassitt and Ryan Cook, and a perfectly nice day for Dan Otero and Pat Venditte.
Starting pitcher Chris Bassitt appears to have cemented his spot in the Nashville Sounds rotation this afternoon after conceding five runs, seven hits, a walk, and one home run while striking out three over 4⅓ innings. His spring ERA comes to a corpulent 8.76. Bassitt seemed to be missing Josh Phegley's target entirely and was punished justly for it.
Bassitt recorded only one out in his first six batters, that out a sacrifice fly. The other two runs scored on an absolutely smoked Lonnie Chasenahll double:
Bassitt managed to survive 4⅓ innings, but also gave up a two-run home run to first baseman Carlos Santana:
Much of the damage against Chris Bassitt was done by left-handed hitters, against whom he has always struggled with from the minors and up.
Bassitt frustrated by inability to throw fastball in to lefties. Says it's been a struggle whole career. Obviously magnified at this level.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) March 23, 2015
Bassitt says it's uncomfortable; w/ way his fastball runs, he must aim at LHs' kneecaps to throw inside, but won't be effective til he does.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 23, 2015
Dan Otero got two quick outs to end the fifth inning, getting Carlos Santana to ground out to third and Brandon Moss to strike out swinging.
Ryan Cook entered in the sixth and ran into trouble right away. Lonnie Chisenhall singled to left and Roberto Perez doubled to left to score Chisenhall.
Michael Martinez singled to score Perez.
Cook stayed in to pitch into the seventh inning, whereupon he gave up a double to Destin Hood, a groundout to Jesus Aguilar, and a run-scoring single to Jerry Sands. Cook escaped more damage when Audy Ciriaco grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. The final line: 2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 SO, bringing his ERA to a more corpulent 16.88 with 10 earned runs conceded over .
I guess you could say Ryan's Cooked YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHH— Casey Hellman (@caseyhellman) March 23, 2015
It is spring training to be sure, but there were a lot of indications from the A's beat writers that Ryan Cook's position in the bullpen was not as secure as we might have thought:
Not Bassitt's best day, but bigger issue for #Athletics, in the present, is Cook's struggles. He's allowed 3 runs in two innings today.— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) March 23, 2015
Ryan Cook has a 19.29 ERA after giving up three runs today. Melvin pretty clear last time out that Cook must iron things out quickly.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 23, 2015
Bob Melvin says #Athletics RHP Ryan Cook "still has some time" to get straightened out before season starts.— John Hickey (@JHickey3) March 23, 2015
If Cook's spot opens up (he has two option years remaining), that could save Evan Scribner from the axe or even open the door to Pat Venditte making the jump to the big leagues.
Everybody's favorite switch pitcher faced Cleveland's backups, pitched into a little bit of trouble, and got of it. Venditte walked Mike Papi and allowed a single to Adam Moore before retiring the next three batters. Michael Martinez popped out to short, Clint Frazier flew out to right, and Destin Hood popped out to second.
The offense, I guess you could call it that
Spring stats don't matter. Spring games don't matter. Bearing that in mind, I'll just run down the highlights of the day.
Cleveland's Zach McAllister had a pretty decent day, knocking down three scoreless frames and allowing just an unearned run in the fourth after second baseman Michael Martinez threw high trying to turn a 5-4-3 double play against Josh Phegley. The ball ended up out of play, which scored Butler from third base:
Otherwise, there were no major highlights from the starters, who each managed zero or one hits on the day. From the backups, J.P. Sportman, sporing the number 93, knocked home a two-run home run in the ninth off Cleveland's C.C. Lee to trim Oakland's deficit to a more palatable 8-3 score in the ninth.
Tomorrow, Drew Pomeranz and Barry Zito are scheduled to pitch against Edwin Jackson and the Chicago Cubs from HoHoKam Stadium at 1:05 PM.