The game got off to a scary start for all A’s fans, as the CSNCA radar gun had Puk topping out at 88 MPH. Clearly that was not the case, as Puk was making the Mariners lineup look silly from top to bottom, with lots of weak contact and swing throughs. That didn’t stop A’s fans everywhere from freaking out.
The bottom of the second got some action going for the A’s offense, as the Matt’s drove in a run via a Olson BB and a Chapman double into the gap. Olson lumbered around the bases for the run.
The wheels fell off for Puk in the third inning, though to my eyes he pitched much better than the line would indicate. After two weak singles poked their way through the infield, including one pasta Lowrie, Gordon Beckham had the hardest hit off Puk with a flyout to CF. That moved the runners to second and third, and on the next batter Puk ended a 3-2 count with a wild pitch between Phegley’s legs that scored the runner on third.
I'll quickly state how glad I am that we're adding Lucroy, because yikes, tonight I was not really all that impressed with Phegley's defense. He showed a lead glove and a relative lack of quickness behind the dish. He has a good arm, but past that, I'm glad he's being relegated to being the third string catcher.
After a Seager popout to Chapman, Puk ended his night by walking Junior Lake. It seemed like Puk was getting squeezed on that inside strike, but that’s just my opinion. Bob Melvin came out to grab A.J., and brought in Eric Jokisch, who promptly decided to give up a grand slam to Taylor Motter.
Some positives, after Puk was pulled, we found out that he’s been throwing a two seam fastball for most of spring, which would certainly explain why his strikeout numbers have been a bit on the low side.
In the bottom of the third, we heard a variety of things from Bob Melvin. He reiterated that the A’s are currently leaning towards a eight man bullpen. With the way the pitching has been going, I’m not all that surprised. Melvin also floated that Dustin Fowler might not be ready for the bigs just yet, just because he still needs to get his timing back. That makes sense, and extends the amount of time the A’s can spend looking at Jake Smolinski and Boog Powell.
Paul Blackburn took over and threw four innings of pretty impressive ball, striking out six. I still don’t know if I truly believe in his repertoire moving forward, but if his K/9 is closer to 7 than 3, he’s a perfectly acceptable #4/5 type. If we get 180 innings of that? We're that much closer to having an acceptable rotation.
Otherwise, an uneventful evening for these A’s. There were some great defensive plays by Sheldon Neuse and Nick Allen, but the offense stayed quiet until the end of the night. Our A's lose 6-2, and look to play the Indians tomorrow.
The Game Thread can be found here.