Today was really the story of 2 games between the Oakland Athletics and the Kansas City other team.
One of these games was the worst spring training pitching fears of AN realized.
The second game was the second inning on.
If we’d started the game in the second, I’d call the whole thing a spring training success - well pitched, generally well defended, and a couple runs in the ninth to close out. Unfortunately for Bassitt, that’s not where it started.
The best laid plans of A's and men
The A’s went down meekly in their half of the first. In the bottom half of the inning Bassitt actually looked really good, however he gave up three consecutive singles. For all three of these batters he was ahead in the count, and he lost all three.
First he gave up a solid single to right to Escobar on a 2/2 count. Moustakas followed with a bunt to left against the shift on an 0/1 count (as an aside: a bunt in the first..in spring training? Hmmmph), and then the bases loaded up on another solid single to right by Cain (0/2 count again). At this point he seemed to give up on his original game plan and lost Hosmer on a full count, walking in the first run. A second walk to Gordon and another single from Fuentes, and we were lost before we even began - four runs for the Royals on four hits.
The A’s got two well hit singles in the second inning from Vogt and Phegley, leading the fan behind me to call for the team to load the bases with catchers, but a pretty bad first pitch swing from Chapman stopped that rally before it got going.
Bassitt did much better the second time through the lineup, walking Cain on a full count, but getting three really poor contact grounders from Escobar, Moustakas, and Hosmer.
The A’s ran themselves out of a rally in the third, as Sogard thought he had a clear path to third only to get caught in a run down, and also in the arms/shoulder/hand of Moustakas as he attempted to run past him. Burns was then caught at second as he tried to take the extra bag. It looked really obvious from where we were sitting that Moustakas got in the way of Sogard running and they collided in some way, which had the follow on affect of ending the rundown early and snagging Burns. On the other hand, Burns’s slide into second was awful.
The rest of my notes got a bit more sketchy as the game never really felt close after that. In no particular order, here’re some thoughts:
The Royals pulled Wang pretty early for this late in ST (the 4th), and although he looked okay, the A’s didn’t seem super fooled by his stuff; another time through the order and we might have seen some offensive damage.
The ball just really wasn’t carrying at all. There were several warning track flies that I thought might get out.
Moylan has a funky arm slot/delivery, but he gave up a bunch of hard contact. Maybe this is just standard for a submariner like him, but was a bit surprising to see.
In the top of the sixth, the Royals subbed out the entire team. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen that before, but it Royally (heh) confused my steadfast scorekeeper/gf.
The A’s scored twice in the ninth on a Burns single, Canha triple, and foul sac fly by Smolinski. Canha really smoked the ball, but otherwise the rally was less exciting than this paragraph.
It wasn't all bad
Despite the first, and actually even including much of the first, Bassitt pitched really well. I have no idea where the two really painful walks came from, but he stayed ahead of batters, mixed in all of his pitches, and gave a bunch of weak contact with four strikeouts. Additionally his curve looked sharp and he threw it for strikes.
No 2015 PTSD from the relief core this game. Rodriguez continued his tradition this summer of just looking totally in control; it was really good to see. The gun had Doolittle at 90-92 on his fastball, but his off speed pitches induced weak contact, and he seemed pretty satisfied with what he was throwing. Finally Dull continued to be dull - giving up somewhere between weak and no contact, getting ahead of batters, and basically making the game look easy.
Semien had a great, GREAT play for the first out of the 7th. He came all the way across the middle to snag a hard hit grounder deep in the hole, whirled and really quickly threw a strike to first for the out. It was a really quick jump, impressive lateral movement, clean catch and transfer, and ideal throw all in one package. After yesterday’s game, and Nico’s un-fun post, I was pleased.
In the game thread there appeared to be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about how poorly the A's played today. As I mention up top, I actually thought the game went pretty well for us after the first inning, and if we’re going to treat spring training performances as mattering, the game was a lot better than the score. But of course there's always that first inning to consider.
Let's move on
Tomorrow the A’s are back "home," so hopefully we can skip giving the game away in the first, and get some momentum going as the last week of spring training winds down.