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Spring Game #32: A’s cap off Arizona by losing 15-11

It certainly wasn’t the best game of the Spring, but it might’ve been the most game of the Spring. But real baseball is less than a week away!

MLB: Spring Training-Oakland Athletics at Chicago Cubs Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Bay Area will finally have baseball again tomorrow, but the A’s still had to finish off their time in Arizona. The pitching staff apparently didn’t get the memo.

The pitching schedule was extremely weird from the get-go – Kendall Graveman was originally scheduled to start, but got sick and threw in minor league camp instead. So, Santiago Casilla made the start, with the bullpen (Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson) pitching the next two innings. That was before 2016 draftee Daulton Jefferies came in for the “start”, going for 2.2 innings. With that sort of chaos before the game, maybe it’s not that surprising that they got hammered immediately. But it really was tough to listen to.

The pain started off almost immediately, as Casilla had nothing. A lead-off homer by Kyle Schwarber spiraled into a disaster inning after a walk-groundout-walk-HBP sequence loaded the bases for presumptive Cubs CF Albert Almora. And, of course, he hit a homer. That put the A’s down by five runs with one out recorded, and Casilla’s day was done.

The rest of the bullpen didn’t do especially well either, with Doolittle and Madson each giving up a run in their respective innings. That’s when Daulton Jefferies made his “start”, and boy, it didn’t go very well at all. Schwarber hit a two-run homer almost immediately (I’m extremely glad we don’t have to face him regularly, because he’s great and that annoys me). After allowing two more runs in the fifth inning, he was pulled after letting two men on base (Lou Trivino allowed them to score). All told, the damage was 6 earned runs in 2.2 innings, and he didn’t strike anyone out. Not an auspicious debut, but he was in college eight months ago, so it’s definitely forgivable.

Meanwhile, the offense actually did fantastic. Cubs starter John Lackey got destroyed, which is something I always like to see. Maybe there was just something in the water that made pitchers stink today. Homers from Marcus Semien, Matt McBride, and Andrew Lambo buoyed the offense in the early innings (including an eight run 4th inning), and Yonder Alonso capped off his stealth Cactus League MVP campaign by picking up another 2-2 game.

Did you know that Alonso is hitting .375 with a 1.159 OPS this spring? Mike Trout is only hitting .308 with a .948 OPS. Spring training rules.

After that eight run inning, however, the game sort of faded out, as spring games are wont to do after the B-team comes in. The prospects did fine – Max Schrock, BJ Boyd, and Richie Martin each went 1-3. Just not a lot to report after the fourth inning.

Today was the ultimate get-away day, and it really showed. The game was extremely sloppy on both sides. But the A’s end their time in Arizona at 16-15, which is very solid. The Cubs are 12-17, so I think we can say with absolute certainty that the A’s are better than the Cubs this year. 100%.

Sorry about the lack of a Game Thread today – mix-up on our part. Of course, there will be a thread for the first game of the Bay Bridge Series, tomorrow at 7:05 PT.