The Oakland A's notched a walk-off win against the Angels in the Cactus League on Saturday, with the final score of 8-7. I know it's spring training and it doesn't matter. If the A's beat the Angels in a game of Pictionary at a holiday party in December I'd still be irrationally excited. It's the Angels, man. Don't have to count to matter. (Note that if the Angels beat the A's in a Cactus League game I will point out how the A's weren't really trying.)
The progression of the game went like this:
Early innings: Angels B-team dominates A's starters
Middle innings: Angels C-team continues to hold off A's B-team
Late innings: A's C-team mounts massive comeback against Angels C-team, culminating in walk-off win
Chris Bassitt was strong through two scoreless innings, and John Hickey reports that Bassitt likes working with catcher Josh Phegley; the two came over together from the White Sox in the same trade, so I imagine this wasn't their first time as battery-mates. Phegley also threw out a base-stealer, which should make you all kinds of excited because it is the first time an A's catcher has ever caught anyone stealing (citation needed). Eric O'Flaherty gave up a run, and although it was unearned it still required a walk and a hit on top of the initial error. Ryan Cook and Evan Scribner each gave up earned runs, but Scribner's was pure small-ball: walk, steal, groundout, RBI squeeze bunt. The rest of the runs were given up by guys who won't be on the team.
The A's lineup(s) scratched out only one run through six innings, but then some bench players and top prospects put together a comeback. The rally got going in the seventh with Joey Wendle (walk), Max Muncy (single) and catcher Luke Carlin (RBI single) combining for a run, and then Jeremy Koo's personal favorite Alden Carrithers knocking a double to plate another one. Tyler Ladendorf wrapped things up with another RBI single. In the eighth, doubles by Andy Parrino and Muncy led to two more runs.
Leading off the ninth, Billy Burns doubled down the line (as a right-handed batter) and Ladendorf tripled to knock him in. You have to figure that, if the rules had permitted, Burns could have come around a second time to score from second on a triple, but we'll leave that to the Blernsball historians of the future. With the winning run at third and nobody out, Eric Sogard and Parrino walked to load the bases and set up the force at every base. Jason Pridie missed a chance to be a hero and raise his stock, but he struck on three straight swings. Renato Nunez followed by hitting a grounder off the foot of the pitcher, Edgar Ibarra, and the Angels were unable to recover it in time to cut down Ladendorf at the plate. Ceeeeeeelebrate good times. And good timing.
This quote from Bassitt, via Jane Lee's recap on MLB.com, is like music to my ears.
"I'm really making a conscious effort this year, and I've been preached about it a long time. Just don't beat yourself. No walks," Bassitt said. "I don't really care about the score. If I don't walk anyone, I really feel like I like the odds."
Make sure to check out Nico's eyeball scouting report!
The stats don't matter, but these ones might
A look at the players who are on the roster bubble, and a couple whose health we're monitoring.
Chris Bassitt: 2 innings, 0 runs, 2 Ks, 1 hit, 0 BB
Eric O'Flaherty: 1 inning, 1 unearned run, 1 hit, 1 BB
Ryan Cook: 1 inning, 1 run, 3 hits, 1 K, 0 BB
Tyler Ladendorf: 2-for-2, triple, 2 RBI, run
Andy Parrino: 1-for-2, double, run, intentional BB
Eric Sogard: 0-for-2, walk
Joey Wendle: 1-for-1, run
Mark Canha: 1-for-2, K
Billy Burns: 1-for-1, double, run
Alex Hassan: 2-for-2
Max Muncy: 1-for-1, double, 2 RBI, walk, run
Alden Carrithers: 1-for-1, double, RBI