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Spring Game Thread #5: A’s vs. Angels

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AL West spring showdown

2021 Spring Training: Los Angeles Dodgers v. Oakland Athletics
James Kaprielian
Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Hope the Oakland A’s enjoyed their day off Thursday, because it was their last for a while.

Friday begins a string of 16 straight days with games, though that’s not quite the same daunting task in the Cactus League as it is in the regular season. After all, there are nearly three times as many players on hand to share the load in spring camp, and also the wins and losses don’t count for anything anyway.

Today brings the division rival Angels, coming off their hilarious sixth straight season missing the playoffs despite having Mike Trout the whole time and Anthony Rendon alongside him last summer. The Halos did slightly more to upgrade their pitching staff this winter than the usual zero, but we’ll see if it’s enough to help snap their drought.

One of their hopes on the mound is 26-year-old righty Shohei Ohtani, who only pitched two games last year and finished with more runs (7) than outs (5). Oakland saw him in July and he let all six batters he faced reach base, with five coming around to score. Mathematically he is almost certain to do better in this game.

The A’s counter with top prospect James Kaprielian, No. 7 on our Community Prospect List. He threw a scoreless inning in the spring opener, while the defense behind him created some trouble but then got out of it (with a Buddy Reed outfield assist). Out of Oakland’s bullpen, we can expect to see relievers Burch Smith and lefty Adam Kolarek, per Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle.

First pitch is 12:05 p.m. PT. You can listen to the radio broadcast for free online at A’s Cast. The game is televised in the Angels local market, but not sure if MLB Network is simulcasting it in the Bay Area or not, so it’s worth a look. (My listings show a delayed telecast at 7 p.m. PT on MLB Network.)

A’s lineup (home)

  1. LF Mark Canha (R)
  2. SS Elvis Andrus (R)
  3. 1B Matt Olson (L)
  4. 3B Matt Chapman (R)
  5. DH Mitch Moreland (L)
  6. CF Ramon Laureano (R)
  7. RF Chad Pinder (R)
  8. 2B Tony Kemp (L)
  9. C Aramis Garcia (R)
  • RHP James Kaprielian

MATT CHAPMAN IS PLAYING THIRD BASE, for the first time since hip surgery. No Buddy Reed in the starting lineup, so maybe today’s star play will be that he suggests the perfect pitching change to manager Bob Melvin while sitting in the dugout.

Angels lineup (away)

  1. 2B David Fletcher (R)
  2. CF Mike Trout (R)
  3. RF Dexter Fowler (S)
  4. 1B Albert Pujols (R)
  5. LF Justin Upton (R)
  6. SS Jose Iglesias (R)
  7. C Kurt Suzuki (R)
  8. DH Max Stassi (R)
  9. 3B Luis Rengifo (S)
  • RHP Shohei Ohtani

I have no memory of the Angels acquiring Fowler last month, one of two Fowler outfielders to be traded in baseball in February. And relax we get it, you like former A’s catchers.

Let’s go Oakland!