After a brief one day vacation, the 2015 A’s picked up where they left off on opening night. It’s tough to really see if this early round of success is due to the excellent team or the pure incompetence of the Rangers, but we’ll split the difference and call it 50/50. The A’s were humming on all cylinders tonight, and had about five or six truly outstanding individual performances.
It was fun.
Both Tyler Ladendorf and Mark Canha delivered in big ways in their MLB debuts, and were really the big stories of today’s game. Ladendorf struck first, hammering an RBI triple to the left-center gap for his first MLB hit, in his first plate appearance.
The last guy to triple for their first MLB hit was Miguel Tejada. I’m not saying it’s not just a coincidence, but the evidence is pretty strong that Tyler Ladendorf is destined to win an MVP.
He continued to be excellent as the game went on, eventually drawing two walks, scoring two runs, and batting in 2 runs. He played 2B and LF, and generally was pretty great.
However, if I had to choose a Player Of The Game, it would absolutely be Mark Canha. The 26-year-old put on a show, smashing a bases loaded, three-run double for his first MLB hit. The ball was hit so high off the wall that it looks a bit like it might’ve been a home run, but more likely it just hit right at the top. It’s not like the A’s needed the extra runs, so I’ll take it.
He hit ANOTHER almost-HR RBI double in the 6th inning off of right hander Logan Verrett, scoring Ben Zobrist. What I’m trying to say is that he was about a cumulative 6 inches from a 2 HR, 7 RBI MLB debut. That would’ve been… pretty good.
On a sidenote, the Rangers' bullpen is made up of Neftali Feliz and about 500 interchangeable, random pitchers than no one has ever heard of. It seems likely they just picked a bunch of guys off of a bus stop and put them on a Major League roster, because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Anyway, the A’s obviously like him, and he’s going to start again tomorrow. Once Josh Reddick comes back he’ll have to fight for his playing time, but until then you’re looking at our everyday LF.
Scott Kazmir looked unhittable. He racked up 10 Ks, sat 94 with his fastball, and mixed in some of the dirtiest changeups he’s ever thrown. He allowed exactly one hit, a bunt single to lead off the game. Imagine if there had been no bunt! We would’ve had two no-hitters brought into the 7th inning in two games! I swear, we’re going to get spoiled with this embarrassment of riches we’ve got in our starting rotation.
There was one scary moment in the 4th inning, when Kazmir grimaced and started stretching, signaling injury. The training staff took a good long look at him, but they elected to keep him in the game. There was obviously something wrong though — he badly overthrew his next few fastballs, walked a batter, and gave up a line-drive out to end the inning.
Apparently it was just back tightness, though, and Kazmir lived to pitch another inning. His velocity was slightly diminished (sitting 91-92 through the last few innings), but he regained his no-hit stuff and looked just as dominant.
Alas, it is the third game of the season, so Kazmir left after 7 immaculate innings. Dan Otero pitched a clean 8th, and RJ Alvarez made his Oakland debut in the 9th.
Alvarez looked absolutely fantastic — aside from allowing a Prince Fielder double. But no harm done, as he struck out the next two batters with some ridiculous stuff. One pitch in particular will haunt me in my dreams: a 89 MPH sinker/slider/splitter that dove straight down to strike out Ryan Rua. Beautiful.
Hey, some other guys had good games too! Wow!
- Brett Lawrie went 3 for 5 with a double, but was thrown out at 3rd base trying to stretch said double into a triple. I blame the coaching staff more than Lawrie for that — I’m fairly sure that Mike Gallego waved him in, but I can’t be sure. Either way, much better than striking out 4 times on 12 total pitches. Much, much better.
- Marcus Semien made some good defensive plays and went 2 for 3 with a walk. He was another player that struggled last night, and it’s nice to see him make some adjustments and hit some balls hard.
- Cody Ross made his A’s debut, and went 1 for 5 with 2 RBIs, which is good enough for a guy who flew in this afternoon. I’m glad we made a good impression on him.
Also, Prince Fielder managed to drop an easy foul pop-up and fall down, leading to this classic screenshot:
"whatcha thinkin about, prince?" "i dunno, baseball stuff i guess" pic.twitter.com/hi25EzGt0o— Duncan Morrow (@DunxMuro) April 9, 2015
All in all, this game was fun. I hope we have more games like this in the future. I enjoyed this game. I enjoy baseball. Thank you.