The Oakland A’s lost their Cactus League exhibition on Tuesday, by the score of 12-3 to the Arizona D’Backs.
The game wasn’t devoid of positive highlights, especially in the power department for the lineup. On the pitching side, most of the damage was concentrated among just a couple Oakland hurlers.
First the good news. Jed Lowrie played his fifth game of the spring, and he finally collected his first hit. It wasn’t cheap, either, as he got all of one against Madison Bumgarner and hit it out for a homer, with 98.5 mph exit velocity.
The last time Lowrie got any kind of hit in a major league game, whether spring, regular season, or playoffs, was in September 2018 when he was still a member of the A’s in his last stint here. If you’re looking for signs of him being ready to return to the majors, a dinger off MadBum is a good start.
Three batters later, Chad Pinder went deep too, for his second long ball of the Cactus League and his second hit of the day.
There’s not much else to report from the lineup, though they weren’t exactly quiet, combining for a dozen baserunners between nine hits and three walks. Catcher Austin Allen picked up two singles, raising his spring line to 4-for-17.
The next best highlight came from top prospect Tyler Soderstrom, who got another late-inning at-bat and once again responded with a double. This one was 109.6 mph off the bat, the highest exit velocity of any ball hit by the A’s today. The 19-year-old catcher is now 4-for-7 with three doubles this spring, not even a full year after being a 1st-round draft pick out of high school.
All Tyler Soderstrom does is hit pic.twitter.com/d2v0TkJ0su— Shayna Rubin (@ShaynaRubin) March 16, 2021
The previous summer’s 1st-round pick also notched a hit on Tuesday. Shortstop Logan Davidson hit a groundball single with a strong 100.3 mph exit velo, and overall he’s now 4-for-9 with a homer, double, and two walks.
One bit of bad news: Ramon Laureano was a late scratch with a sore left side, which he felt while taking a swing in the cage, reports Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle.
Unfortunately, positive takeaways were harder to come by on the pitching side.
The start went to Jesús Luzardo, who had thrown four hitless innings in his debut last week, and this outing went the complete opposite. The lefty allowed a solo homer to Ketel Marte right away in the 1st, an absolute blast at 114.7 mph exit velocity off a fastball, and in the 3rd the D’Backs put together a rally long enough to knock him out of the game. An error by SS Elvis Andrus didn’t help, but Luzardo still walked the opposing pitcher Bumgarner and then served up three doubles, a wild pitch, and a hard-hit single.
Five runs crossed the plate in the inning by the time Luzardo was pulled. He said the following, per Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News:
Luzardo said all his stuff was there today, just struggled with command, particularly on fastball. He faced the Diamondbacks last year, so they might’ve been looking for changeup today.
Added that he was happy with his curveball, but wants to work on his command and mixing up his pitches in the last few weeks of camp.
On the bright side, Luzardo did throw another Turkey Sub slow curveball. This one was delivered to former A’s outfielder Trayce Thompson, and it registered 60.7 mph on the Statcast radar. His next pitch was a 96.8 mph fastball.
This was the fastball he came back with: pic.twitter.com/IvmbCIkovg— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) March 16, 2021
For an idea of how significant it is to get 36 mph of separation between pitches, here’s an illustration. The red line is Luzardo’s mid/upper-90s fastball, and the green and blue lines are his offspeed and breaking pitches, right where you’d expect them around 10 miles slower give or take a few. Then there’s that one little dot, waaaay down nearly off the chart at the bottom. That’s the Turkey Sub.
Some other pitchers got in work after Luzardo. Sergio Romo and J.B. Wendelken did well. Burch Smith did alright, allowing a homer in two innings. Non-roster invitee Argenis Angulo got knocked around, finishing with five runs and just one out on his record.
Sergio Romo strikes Madison Bumgarner out looking. Bumgarner appears unhappy with the call pic.twitter.com/tA1x9mhxcE— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) March 16, 2021
The positives for Tuesday are that Lowrie homered, Pinder homered, Soderstrom got another hit, and a couple MLB relievers looked good. The negatives are that Luzardo is human not immortal, and Laureano has a new injury to monitor. Brush off the rest and go get ‘em tomorrow!