So, how about that youth movement?
Today's game was a full vindication of the idea of letting the kids play. By the end of the game, the A's were running out a full Nashville Sounds lineup, circa June 2016. You know when we tell you about the bright future this team has, despite the miserable present? This is what we're talking about.
This is the ideal future of this team, this is what a rebuild is all about.
When you're cold and lonely this winter, this is the game that you should pull up and watch. This is, essentially, the 2017 A's, and this is what they're capable of.
It's tough to recap this game because it was such a thorough walloping. It's easy to forget that for a second, this game looked in doubt. The A's struck first by delivering three runs on a Khris Davis homer off of Dillon Gee in the third. It's nice to see Davis break out of a pretty miserable slump, and he did it in pretty incredible fashion – 425+ feet to dead center field is always nice to see, and puts him back on track to get to 40 HRs this season.
Ross Detwiler was fine, and did admirably in his role as designated innings eater. There's nothing exciting about Ross Detwiler, but he's done a fantastic job of being a healthy body capable of pitching five to six innings per game. That's his role, and in a lost season, that's basically the most important role there is. He ran into trouble in the third inning, right after the A's took the lead. He ended up allowing three runs and struggling with his control and pitch count.
For exactly one minute, it looked like a real, competitive baseball game.
Then the A's hit hyperdrive.
For this game, it's easier to list stats than to list events. Almost every A had a tremendous game and the hits just kept coming. Every pitcher the Royals threw at this lineup got smashed.The Athletics scored 13 runs between the fourth and the ninth innings. Kansas City has been razed to the ground, and the land has been salted. Missouri as a whole has been wiped off the face of the Earth.
Every member of the A's starting lineup had at least one hit today. Six had at least two. Marcus Semien hit his first homer since August 8th. Stephen Vogt smashed out of his slump by going 3-3 with two walks and a double, not making an out all game.
But the rookies are what matter to me, and the rookies were incredible. Bruce Maxwell continued his torrid stretch by going 2-4 with a walk. Ryon Healy, a man who is normally allergic to walks, walked twice and drove in two runs. Brett Eibner in particular had a stellar revenge game agains the team that traded him, going 2-3 with two walks and three runs scored. Joey Wendle went 2-5 with some stellar defense and a stolen base.
Even the bench players got in on the action late in the game. Matt Olson made his MLB debut in the 9th inning by drawing a four-pitch walk. Then Arismendy Alcantara, whose playing time has been practically non-existent, got his first AB in forever and hit a two-run double.
Also, Renato Nunez grounded out in his first MLB at bat, which means that he's worthless and we're going to DFA him tomorrow.
The back end of the bullpen was either fantastic or the Royals stopped caring after the sixth inning. Probably the latter. But in either case, Daniel Coulombe struck out five of the six batters he faced, and Zach Neal pitched three clean innings to finish off the game and get the save. It's incredibly silly that he got a save in a 16-3 mega-blowout, but good for him.
This is the best victory of the season by far. Previous blowouts were lead by guys like Danny Valencia, Josh Reddick (RIP), Stephen Vogt, Jed Lowrie – quality veterans. That's great, and two of those four guys played key roles tonight. But today was all about the youth, the rookies, the players who will form the core of the next great A's team.
Maybe this is a one-off fluke. But man, it's hard not to get excited about 2017 and beyond.