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Spring Game #5: A’s lose big, but with plenty of golden linings

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The Angels won 17-5, but most of the scoring was in garbage time.

Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s lost to the Angels on Tuesday by a lopsided score of 17-5, giving the green-and-gold their fourth loss in five Cactus League games this spring. On the bright side, most of the scoring came in garbage time off of A’s pitchers who are unlikely to factor into the MLB plan this year.

*** Click here to revisit today’s Game Thread! ***

The game was close for most of the day. Both teams scored in the 1st, and the A’s settled into an early 3-1 lead thanks to a couple run-scoring hits by Stephen Piscotty. But then the Angels rallied off Fernando Rodney for four runs in the 4th, and Oakland never came back. The Angels went on to plate 11 more runs in the final two frames to turn it into a rout.

Key takeaways:

  • Great day at the plate for Piscotty. His first time up he drilled a double to the wall in left, driving in a pair. Next time up, with a runner on and two outs, he reached down and flicked a low pitch the other way for a clutch RBI single. Here’s a video of his double.
  • Chad Pinder got some action at 3B. Mike Trout led off the game with a grounder toward the SS/3B hole, but he beat Pinder’s throw to first. Pinder played it well but Trout is just a demigod; maybe Matt Chapman would have gotten him, but only maybe. Later in the game, Trout hit almost the exact same grounder again, and this time Pinder got him. He also got a chance to range in for a slow chopper (albeit with Pujols “running”). Point is, he looked like someone who can back up 3B when needed, not that it was ever in doubt.
  • Mike Fiers was excellent, striking out five batters in three innings. His breaking ball was filthy today.
  • Rodney wasn’t as bad as his line suggests. His inning began with a bloop hit, a solid single, and a strikeout. Then two of the next three batters hit the routine, inning-ending, rally-killing, double-play grounder he needed, and both times it bounced calmly through the SS/3B hole for run-scoring hits. He later walked a couple batters, but one of them was Trout, which is fair enough. The Angels really only hit the ball well twice (Ward single, Fletcher sac fly) in the entire frame, and it resulted in four runs — in other words, Rodney got BABIP’d, though with the disclaimer that he was also pretty wild throughout so it’s not like he was aces or anything.
  • Nick Martini left the game after colliding with the wall after chasing a foul ball. He tripped on his shoelaces and faceplanted into the wall, resulting in a hyperextended back (still awaiting X-ray results). He walked off under his own power, but clearly this is the first spring injury to monitor. (Both links via Martin Gallegos, East Bay Times) (Update: It’s actually a knee sprain.)
  • Jorge Mateo looked like a best-case scenario. His first time up he lined a sharp single the other way into right, and later he drilled another hit sharply to left. Both times he showed off his 80-grade speed, too. He stretched the second hit into a double, where most runners would probably have stopped at first base. But the big play came after his first hit — he’d already been moved up to third base, and he then scored on what can genuinely be described as a sac fly to an infielder. The 2B caught it with his back turned, maybe 150 feet from the plate, and Mateo still beat the throw by a couple steps. On defense, Mateo only fielded one grounder, but he looked smooth like a proper shortstop.
  • The wheels came off at the end, but who cares? Rotation depth piece Parker Bridwell couldn’t find the zone against his former teammates in the 8th, and then Double-A reliever Miguel Romero replaced him and got lit up; the Angels pushed across seven runs in the frame. Then another AA/AAA reliever, Kyle Finnegan, got torched for four more in the 9th. None of this is anything to worry about because these are not the pitchers we’re expecting to see on the 2019 A’s, though obviously it would be cooler to not allow runs than to allow a whole bunch of them.

The A’s will look to get back on the winning side of the fake games tomorrow, against the Dodgers at 12:05 p.m.