The Cubs and Athletics played to a 2-2 tie Thursday afternoon from Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona. For the Cubs, the offense came in the second inning when Mike Olt hit a two-run home run off Barry ZIto. The Athletics scored in the late-going, scoring a run on a Luke Carlin single in the seventh, and the other run on a Rangel Ravelo double in the eighth.
Barry Zito started for the A's, with scouts telling Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that Zito's fastball was sitting in the high 80s:
@newballpark that gun is slow, the scouts say. I've texted several and all agree on readings up to 87 mph and one of them had him at 89.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 5, 2015
Zito pitches two innings and looked sharp, with his biting hook bringing back memories of knee-buckle after knee-buckle. He retired the first five batters successfully, but hit Chris Coghlan. The next batter, Mike Olt, smacked a 2-2 mistake changeup over the wall, to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
Clippard says of Zito, "He looked like his old self. It was good to see him back out there."— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) March 5, 2015
Zito "definitely" pleased with his outing. Says, "I did a lot of things I wanted to do today."— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) March 5, 2015
Pat Venditte got to face switch-hitter Dexter Fowler, which prompted Joe Maddon to walk out and remind Fowler that the rule for facing a switch-pitcher is that the pitcher declares which hand he is going to throw with first, and then the batter takes his position in whichever box he likes.
Tyler Clippard and Fernando Abad also got an inning each today. Clippard allowed two base runners but escaped the fourth inning with no damage.
Tyler Clippard feels pretty good about first spring outing, didn't mind having runners on to work out of situation.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 5, 2015
Abad worked a 1-2-3 fifth inning, inducing three ground balls.
Coco Crisp made his debut in left field today, at one point calling off center fielder Craig Gentry on a fly ball to left-center.
#Athletics Coco Crisp said he "wasn't really tested today" in his return to left field. Caught 1 routine fly ball.— John Hickey (@JHickey3) March 5, 2015
The A's were held to two hits and two walks in the first six innings. Ben Zobrist doubled in the fourth off Drake Britton, and Brett Lawrie singled off Gonzalez Germen.
The A's go to 2-0-1, and the Cubs are 0-0-1 for now, pending the end of their other game today against the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale. The A's will visit the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt Rivers Fields in Scottsdale on Friday.