Understanding, of course, that Spring Training records have no bearing on the actual season, tonight's match-up featured the best of the AL against the worst of the NL. Even without the handicap of the A's using nine real batters to the Giants' eight and a pitcher, the A's win this game easily. Billy Butler did the most damage; he was 3-5 on the night with his fifth Spring home run, but not to be outdone, the other Billy (Burns) continued his torrid Spring hitting, collecting a double and a single--a routine ground ball to short that wasn't even thrown to first. Not to be outdone, Lawrie, Fuld, and Semien also collected two hits on the night, Semien's first ended up in the seats.
Scott Kazmir pitched six brilliant innings, scattering four hits; his only blemish a solo home run to Angel Pagan. Ironically, Kazmir has been so good this Spring that his ERA went up; from 0.75 to 1.00. I doubt he cares.
Scott Kazmir said in terms of a feel for all of his pitches, this was the best spring he's had in his career. #Athletics— Jimmy Durkin (@Jimmy_Durkin) April 3, 2015
Tonight's lineup, against right-handed Jake Peavy, looked pretty good. I'm still wildly concerned about their left-handed lineup, and I know it's a controversial opinion, but this outfield--while light on power--is so speedy, and so defense-heavy, that I love it. I worry about Eric Sogard being slotted as an everyday player, and I love Ben Zobrist at second. And while I'd swap Fuld for Canha with a lefty on the mound, I really would like to see what Burns can do. And where I always thought that Jesse Chavez to the bullpen was a foregone conclusion before Spring Training even started, I'm actually not sure the A's have completely made up their mind about the outfield, especially with the recent injury report.
Sam Fuld started the hit parade early, singling off Peavy to open the game. Zobrist would walk to put two on, but Peavy managed to wiggle out of the inning with a zero on the scoreboard. The crooked number would come in the second. Brett Lawrie tripled to open the inning, hitting the ball--where else?--in triples' alley. Stephen "IBISV" Vogt wasted no time collecting the sacrifice fly to put the A's on the board. Marcus Semiem put his pitch just down the line, barely fair, but a real home run nonetheless. Sam Fuld tried to hit an inside-the-park home run, but since he slowed down approaching third until the ball was bobbled, it was ruled a triple and an error. It didn't matter; the A's were on the board to the tune of 3-0.
Kazmir shut down Giants hitter after Giants hitter, while the A's just kept scoring. Vogt and Semien both walked to lead off the fourth inning and Burns' subsequent double drove in the A's fourth run. Craig Gentry singled in the fifth, Ben Zobrist collected a sac fly for the sixth, and after Gentry swiped second base, Butler singled him in to give the A's the 7-0 lead.
Pagan put the Giants on the board, and neither team would score again until the ninth. Scribner and Abad both pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Kazmir, but Venditte--is what is likely one of his last appearances--gave up a solo home run in his inning. Not that it mattered; Butler's home run notched the A's 8th run earlier in the inning.
We do it all over again tomorrow! Same time, same place, hopefully the same great result as Kendall Graveman takes his last tune-up. Public service announcement: Turn off your TV promptly. They're showing the A's 2014 season in review.