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Spring Game #1: Cubs’ dozen bests A’s deuce in preseason opener

MLB: Oakland Athletics-Media Day
Feb 20, 2020; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Lou Trivino (62) poses during photo day. 
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

A’s pitchers Lou Trivino, Zach Lee, Donnie Hart, and Wandisson Charles each gave up three runs as the Chicago Cubs pounded the Oakland Athletics 12-2 in tonight’s preseason opener at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona. The A’s used nine pitchers and 18 position players throughout the game, but their biggest stars watched the one-sided affair from the bench.

Game thread here

The A’s trotted out two prominent young arms in the first and second innings as the Cubs got out to an early lead. Both teams followed the same pattern at the plate in the first inning: two quick outs, a walk, and a noisy flyout. A.J. Puk looked great overall in the first inning despite the walk: he struck out two with fastballs in the high 90s and served up some devastating sliders.

Lou Trivino, whose struggles in 2019 were well chronicled, didn’t exactly turn over a new leaf in his second inning appearance. He gave up four hits, the first of which was a towering arch to left center from Cubs catcher Willson Contreras that put the Cubs ahead 1-0. Center fielder Albert Almora hit a two run double to triple the Cubs’ lead before the A’s went to righty reliever Brian Schlitter to clean up Trivino’s mess with a single pitch to Cubs shortstop Javier Báez.

Non-roster invitee Zach Lee yielded another three runs to the Cubs in the fourth and fifth innings. The Cubs scored two runs on two hits and two walks in the bottom of the fourth. The first run of the pair came on a bases loaded walk to ex-Athletic Corban Joseph, who subbed for Anthony Rizzo at first base for the Cubs in the top of the fourth. BoMel deemed Lee the first A’s pitcher worthy of a second inning in the game for some reason, and Zach gave up the Cubs’ sixth run on a one out double from center fielder Ian Miller before handing the ball off to (tonight, not so) high-kicking Harvard alum Tanner Anderson to get two more outs. The Cubs led 6-0 through five.

The A’s finally got some offense going in the sixth. Eric Campbell, who took over at first for Seth Brown in the bottom of the fourth, got the A’s first extra base hit of the evening. Campbell’s double to left advanced right fielder Greg Diechmann to third, paving the way for designated hitter Austin Allen to put the A’s on the board with an RBI groundout to second. Second baseman Franklin Barreto added on, poking a shallow liner through to left field before getting doubled up on at first to end the rally when left fielder Luis Barrera hit a hard liner that was gloved by Cubs second baseman Carlos Asuaje.

Lefty Donnie Hart, whose last big league appearance came with the Mets, gave those two runs back plus one more. After allowing two to score and loading the bases he nearly pitched out of it: he struck out two Cubs in succession but then lost a full count battle to third baseman Trent Giambrone, who walked to bring the Cubs’ ninth run home. The Cubs were up 9-2 through six.

The Cubs coasted to victory from there. After a quiet seventh, Chicago did more heavy damage in the eighth. Wandisson Charles, the A’s flamethrowing righty from the Dominican Republic, gave up a two out, three run homer to Giambrone. Cubs right hander Dakota Mekkes easily prevented the need for a bottom frame in the ninth, retiring three Athletics in order to seal the win.

Tomorrow the A’s will host the San Francisco Giants at Hohokam Stadium at 12:05 PM PST. Mike Fiers and Andrew Suárez will start on the mound for their respective teams, and word has it that everyone’s favorite game threader, baseballgirl, will be making her 2020 debut. ‘Til then!

Dessert Menu

  • Who else loves the A’s new Twitter logo?
  • Ex-Athletic starter Jharel Cotton pitched a clean second for the win with some pretty nice looking curveballs. Touché!
  • With a job like this, every day must feel like a birthday.