Triggs is probably incredibly thankful that he is getting out of the hot desert air. The right-hander officially has a spot in the starting five to begin the season, beating out Jesse Hahn, who, like Triggs had a strong first half of the spring but faltered greatly in the second half, but he didn’t so much earn the spot as much as he was the beneficiary of injuries to other teammates and competition that beat itself. Triggs’ spring troubles would continue once again today, as the Royals were able to take Triggs deep three times in under four innings en route to a 10-3 defeat for Oakland.
Triggs is a pitcher that lives and dies by his deceptiveness and movement on his breaking balls, and today he had none of it. The Royals were on the basepaths early and often in this one, putting extra pressure on Triggs and Vogt by stealing two bases and highlighting the speed the team is renowned for. But while the Royals did do damage with their feet, as they are wont to do, most of the damage against Triggs occurred when the Royals flexed their power.
In the third, with the game tied at one, Mike Moustakas broke the tie with a solo home run to center field. After a single and stolen base, Paulo Orlando stroked a home run to left field to further increase the Royals’ lead. Triggs was then unable to keep the wheels from completely falling off and only worked out of the inning after five runs had scored. Triggs, still trying to get stretched out for his guaranteed starter’s job (at season’s start), would return for the fourth, but not for long. After issuing his second walk of the game (and it should be noted that he also had a hit batsman and a wild pitch) to Lorenzo Cain, old friend Brandon Moss would end Triggs’ outing with a scorched home run on a fly ball to right field after 3.2 total innings pitched.
With the game well out of hand, Daniel Coulombe blurred the line between his perceived status of a LOOGY who would face one or two batters a game and that of a long reliever by pitching three strong innings. While he didn’t strike anyone out and would walk the first batter he faced, Coulombe would follow the walk up with a double play ground ball, and then seven more consecutive ground balls just like it, needing to only face the minimum in his long relief outing. Coulombe is one of the few A’s still battling for a roster spot, and if he is capable of expanding his role from a mere (still valuable) LOOGY pitcher to a pitcher who can pitch in most any role, he very well may wind up sticking on the roster for a long time.
The A’s offense was quiet all game, scoring a single run in the first, the fifth, and the ninth innings. The run in the first inning came on an RBI groundout following a Rajai Davis triple to kick the bottom of the first off. The really exciting bit of offense came in the fifth when everyone’s favorite third baseman Matt Chapman hit his third home run of the spring to center field. It was far too little too late at that stage of the game for the big hit to have any impact on the end results of the game, but it was a pleasant burst of excitement for the A’s fans in the stands or tuning in to know that Chapman is very close to big-league ready.
Hohokam’s gates are closing for the final time this spring training, as the final two A’s spring training games are on the road. Opening Day is just a week away.