The Oakland A’s won their Cactus League game on Thursday, 5-1 over the Rangers. It’s spring training, though, so rather than focusing on the play-by-play let’s take a broader look at the game.
The A’s cruised in this one from start to finish. The pitching staff held Texas to one run on five hits, and the offense scored both early (second batter of the game) and often (three different innings).
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Hahn looks great
No one is really sure what to expect from Jesse Hahn this year, as he could be anywhere between the budding No. 2 starter we glimpsed in 2015 or the complete lost cause we saw last season. The team sounds optimistic about him, though, and his second Cactus League start backed up those promising reports after a shaky outing in his spring debut last week.
Hahn threw three shutout innings on Thursday, and the best part of his line is that he didn’t issue any walks. His first frame was particularly memorable, as he followed a leadoff single by striking out Travis Snider, Ryan Rua, and Joey Gallo in order. His final line: 3 ip, 0 runs, 3 Ks, 0 BB, 3 hits.
Joe Stiglich of CSN had the following to say in his recap:
Catcher Stephen Vogt liked the four-pitch mix Hahn had going with his fastball, curve, changeup and slider, and manager Bob Melvin was pleased with Hahn’s work out of the stretch, noting the right-hander utilized his slide step occasionally without any signal from the dugout.
Melvin really liked way Hahn worked out of stretch. Pitching effectively with runners on base been an issue in past.— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) March 2, 2017
Getting back an effective Hahn would be a massive boost for the young rotation, so continue to keep an eye on him throughout March.
The rest of the pitchers
After Hahn departed, John Axford, Raul Alcantara, and Frankie Montas combined to throw the final six innings. The trio allowed one run on just two hits and three walks.
Axford was a bit wild in his spring debut, giving up two of those walks. Alcantara allowed the run, but also contributed three innings of work and posted an overall good line (3 ip, 1 run, 2 Ks, 1 BB, 1 hit). Montas went two scoreless, with one strikeout and one hit allowed. And to answer the question you’re definitely asking about Montas:
Melvin says Frankie Montas was hitting 97-98 on the gun today. Two scoreless innings in his spring debut. #Athletics— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) March 2, 2017
I’m excited by how boring that report is.
Also, a thing to note but not worry about:
Madson was supposed to get in game today but Melvin says he has general mild arm soreness, so he's been pushed back a couple days.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) March 2, 2017
Great job today by Oakland’s pitching staff!
Lineup chips in a nickel
The A’s scored five runs on Thursday, and they didn’t waste any time getting started. Rajai Davis singled to lead off, and then Marcus Semien doubled him in for the team’s only extra-base hit of the afternoon. Semien later scored on a sac fly by Ryon Healy, who wound up with two productive RBI outs on the day. Here’s Semien’s double:
But the most fun part of the game came in the 6th, when the young hitters strung together a small rally. Bruce Maxwell singled, Chad Pinder singled, and Matt Olson walked, loading up the bases. Renato Nunez popped out, but then Jaycob Brugman came through with a two-run single. Bruggy has made eight plate appearances so far this spring, and he’s got a pair of RBI hits and a walk to show for them.
Good game A’s! Tomorrow brings another showdown against the Giants. Kendall Graveman makes the start.