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Rich Hill had yet another rough outing for the A’s as they dropped their Tuesday afternoon game 6-2 against the Rockies. Hill was trying to get on track after a disastrous start to spring training, and he looked like he might have figured it out after a 1-2-3 first inning. But things really started to unravel after that, issuing six walks and giving up five runs over the next three innings.
The Rockies rolled out a righty-filled lineup and those righties hit Hill hard. Mark Reynolds had the hardest hit of the afternoon with a three-run shot in the third inning. Hill’s control issues were also a concern, throwing just 29 of his 67 pitches for strikes.
While all of those numbers are certainly not encouraging, It’s still just spring training, so it’s not worth looking into too much. Hill had some trouble commanding his breaking pitches early on, but instead of avoiding it and trying to find other ways to get batters out, he kept throwing it. That’s not the same philosophy he would use in a real game, but spring training gives him an opportunity to work out a flaw like that.
With all that being said, it’s okay to feel a little bit uncomfortable about Hill. He doesn’t have a great track record at all, so I’m still not sure what to expect from him. He’s far from a sure thing, and his shaky start hasn’t made me more confident in his talent.
Aside from Hill, the other A’s pitchers looked solid today. Fernando Rodriguez went two innings, and looked solid despite allowing a run. He was hitting the mid 90-s on his fastball, and commanded it well. He also picked up a couple strikeouts and didn’t allow a lot of hard contact. Given his good work this spring and the fact that he’s out of options, I’d be shocked if he doesn’t make the 25-man roster on opening day.
Sean Manaea also pitched well, going two scoreless innings while striking out three. He gave up a leadoff triple in the 8th, but was able to pitch out of it. Granted, the competition he faced was mostly minor-league level, but it’s still nice to see him pitching well.
The A’s bats weren’t all that impressive today, with the exception of spring training standout Matt Chapman. Chapman hit another home run, his third of the spring, in the fourth inning (off major league veteran Jose de la Rosa). He still needs plenty of seasoning, but his raw power is a truly encouraging sign.
Tyler Ladendorf roped a double in the eighth, continuing his nice spring. His chances of making the team out of spring training for a second straight year appear slim, as the roster is so congested. However, his versatility will assuredly come in handy at some point this year, and could really come in handy if a few players go down with injuries.
In the field, Sam Fuld made a great play in right field, starting a 9-5-6 double play. His defensive ability has never really been in doubt, but his offense is so weak that he might not make the roster. The A’s would love to have a great defensive outfielder like Fuld on the 25-man, but with Chris Coghlan, Coco Crisp, and Mark Canha all in the picture Fuld might end up being the odd man out.
Matt Chapman also flashed the leather a little bit, making a nice play on a hard grounder to third in the first inning. Chapman had the reputation of a good fielder when he was drafted, but now it seems like he’s added "power hitter" to that description as well. That’s a good combination to have.
The A’s will rest up tomorrow as they have their only off day of the Spring.