The Oakland Athletics beat the Pale Hose from the South Side of Chicago 5-3 to improve to 13-10 in Cactus League play, and now sit a single game behind Seattle for first place in the league. Oh, what's that? The standings don't count yet? I suppose I am ready for the regular season to begin after all. Now that the important information is out of the way we can move on to some highlights.
*** Click here to revisit today's Game Thread!! ***
The A's did most of their damage in the first two innings, scoring four runs on two out base hits from Stephen Vogt and Matt Joyce. Rajai Davis could have very easily had an RBI as well, but a fan reached over the barrier down the third base line causing Mark Canha to stop at 3rd. Luckily for Oakland, Joyce was next up and ripped a solid single to center scoring both runners. No harm, no foul.
The only other A's run was a "Rajai Run," coming after a walk, stolen base, and error. Ryon Healy hit a shallow fly to left but since Rajai can run he was able to score easily on the sac fly. Healy, Khris Davis, and Vogt all ended the day with two hits a piece.
Andrew Triggs worked five solid innings for the A's, albeit against a fairly weak White Sox lineup. The one blemish against him came in the 5th, when he hung a change up to Yolmer (Carlos?) Sanchez. The switch hitting middle infielder deposited the pitch into the right field grass seats, just out of the reach of Matt Joyce. Triggs allowed a leadoff single to Omar Narvaez in the 6th before departing for Ryan Madson. Madson would allow his inherited runner to score, and Triggs' final line goes as follows: 5+ IP, 3 hits, 4 K's, and 2 ER. His offspeed stuff (save for the one change that was hit out of the yard) looked really good today. He recorded six groundouts as well, keeping the ball on the ground for the most part.
The middle innings were pitched by two of the veterans in the A's 'pen, and neither looked very sharp. Madson and Santiago Casilla each allowed two runners on, and Madson allowed an inherited runner to score. Casilla was able to work around the traffic, and made it out of the 7th unscathed.
The other big highlight of today's game was Frankie Montas. Montas dominated the 8th and 9th, striking out four, all on curveballs. He allowed one hit on a ball that could've been caught by Alejandro De Aza in left, but skipped past the diving De Aza for a triple by the same Yolmer (Carlos?) Sanchez. One of Montas' strikeout victims was none other than Tyler Ladendorf, whose knees buckled on a filthy curveball. If Montas really is being considered for the last spot in the bullpen, he did nothing but help his case today. His fastball looked good, and his curveball had everyone fooled.
The A's now return home to Hohokam in Mesa where they will take on the Beer Makers of Milwaukee Thursday at 1:05.
Also, a big thanks to reader Secret Chimp for hooking me up with a free live stream of the game today! I was thinking I would have to rely on the angelic voice of Donny Baarnes to paint a Bob Ross-ian portrait for me today, but the live feed really helped me cover the game. It was an honor to cover a game after reading this blog for many years, so a big thanks to the editorial staff and all y'all out there who took the time to read! On to the 2017 World Series!