This is a really nice way to get hopeful going into the season. The spring lineup has been mostly new faces, but they’ve seemed to instantly click and instantly come together in a way that I don’t think anyone expected.
This is not necessarily a great thing, because spring stats don’t matter and spring wins matter even less. The Rockies are not a good team, and hammering them into submission is not necessarily a sign that the 2015 A’s are destined for greatness. But still, I’m feeling better about this team than I would’ve if they had gone 9-19 instead of 19-9, and that’s about all we can ask from spring training.
Here’s the meaningful part of today’s game in terms of roster moves: Pomeranz has absolutely cemented his place in the rotation. I don’t think I’m stepping on any toes here to say that the rotation is going to be Gray/Hahn/Kazmir/Graveman/Pomeranz.
Pomeranz’s spring has been marked by some shaky starts — he’s shown some of the worst of 2014 Pomeranz, getting behind on hitters, allowing too many walks, and having pitch counts in the 100s by the 4th inning. Just like 2014, he hasn’t felt like a pitcher with a low-2s ERA (even though he has a 2.04 ERA this spring!!!). Today, he showed the best of 2014 Pomeranz: slicing through the Rockies’ lineup with an excellent fastball and a killer knuckle-curve, showing enough control to leave his near-perfect 6 innings with only one walk allowed.
The offense continued to pummel opposing teams into submission, today lead by Brett Lawrie, who was notable for maybe being the only Athletic to be having a bad spring. Nope, not anymore, no one’s having a bad spring and everything is awesome. Today he homered twice: once off of Ryan Arrowood, who is apparently a real person, and once off of LaTroy Hawkins, who is apparently still pitching. It’s great to see him emerge from his early struggle, and the sort of easy power he showed today — one of his homers was launched entirely out of HoHoKam Stadium — is the sort of thing that can get you excited.
Those two were the heroes of the game, bar none, but there was some more success on the periphery, because apparently every A’s player is Mike Trout now.
- Ben Zobrist continued his excellent spring by going 2 for 3 with a double and 3 RBIs, raising his average to .347
- Billy Burns went 3 for 4 again, raising his average to .403. I think it’s totally reasonable for this to continue, and I look forward to him putting up the first .400 season since Ted Williams.
- Tyler Clippard put up a 1-2-3 inning, moving the Jim Johnson Early Alert Warning System down from red to orange.
Maybe this incredible spring doesn’t mean anything, but hey, maybe it does! The top two teams in the Cactus league last year were Cleveland and the Angels, both pretty dang good teams. In 2013, the Royals won, a team that contended for the wildcard and went to the World Series the next year. In 2012, the A’s won, preceding their incredible 2012 season. 2010, the Giants won and went on to win the World Series (boo, hiss). The only time in the past 10 years the Cactus league winner came in under .500 was in 2008, when… the A’s won. Okay, never mind, this probably means nothing.
But it might!