Spring Training Game Thread #17: SPLIT SQUAD! A's face Reds & Giants

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Game Thread #17: Oakland A's vs. Cincinnati Reds

link to game pageSonny Gray

Sonny Gray photo courtesy of Thearon W. Henderson

It’s the battle of the two powerhouses of the 1970’s decade today in Spring Training as the Reds visit the Athletics in Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium. On the mound for the A's today is none other than young staff ace Sonny Gray who will be making his third start of the spring. Gray will be leading the split-squad A's versus the full squad Reds who will counter with sophomore right-hander Raisel Iglesias. Iglesias is known for his hard sinker that induces lots of ground balls. He also features a decent 4-seam fastball that sets up his vicious slider. Like most slider pitchers he tends to be more effective versus same side hitters where the ball tails away. Left handed batters hit him up at a .286 rate in the 2015 campaign as opposed to the sterling .176 rate he posted against Right handed batters.

The Good: Looking solely at OPS, 6 of 9 projected Athletics starters are hitting fantastic this spring. I know spring training stats don't mean much, but it sure is fun to look at these juicy numbers so far: Billy Burns 1.089, Jed Lowrie 1.075, Josh Reddick 1.495, Steven Vogt, 1.526, Dan Valencia 1.068, Yonder Alonso .909

The Bad: In logic there is always "if, then" type questions. So I propose to you dear readers - If the above mentioned guys are seeing the ball so well, then why are these three not doing so well? Billy Butler .807 (not too bad, but not as good as his peers), Marcus Semien .604, Khris Davis .523

The Ugly: Perhaps the hitters, Arizona-wide, have a really strong jump on the pitchers at this point but we haven't seen much out of this rebuilt Athletics bullpen so far. Although there isn't much data as of yet as we only have a few innings of observation at the moment, there are only five relievers on the spring training staff right now with good numbers: Dillon Overton, John Axford, Ryan Dull, Fernando Rodriguez and Patrick Schuster.

Today's Lineups:



A's vs. Giants lineups

RECAP: A's vs. Reds

The Athletics overcome shaky defense that saw the Reds put up 5 runs on Sonny Gray. Relief pitching stepped up today and was solid, holding the Redlegs scoreless for four innings which enabled the A's to erase the last of the deficit in the 9th inning, as the young minor leaguers capitalized on Reds wild pitches to secure the split squad sweep on this 19th day of March. The day was highlighted by a pair of extra-base hits by Valencia including a 2 run dinger in the 3rd inning. In the ninth, the A's fans begin their magical chant and sure enough, an A-ball player named J.P. Sportman delivers in the clutch to help secure the victory!

Thanks for allowing me to write on the Athletics behalf today Athletics Nation. -TokoNeko signing off.