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Spring Game #8: At least Brian Howard was good

Reminder that spring stats don’t matter

Milwaukee Brewers v Oakland Athletics
6-foot-9 and pitchin’ fine
Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

Let’s not dwell on this game too long. The Oakland A’s dropped their Cactus League exhibition on Monday, 10-3 to the Kansas City Royals, and it was as ugly as the score sounds.

Two A’s pitchers took the entirety of that damage. Prospect Parker Dunshee started and allowed five runs in three innings, including a pair of homers, and then veteran reliever Yusmeiro Petit followed with five more runs without completing a single inning.

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

Meanwhile, Oakland’s lineup didn’t offer much resistance. They managed just three hits on the day, and their only real rally came in the 1st when they accepted two walks and two HBPs to force in a run without ever hitting the ball. NRI catcher Francisco Peña homered in the 6th to at least add a bit of respectability to the scoreboard.

Video below: One of the two homers allowed by Petit, this one hit by Bobby Witt Jr.

So how about the good news? Brian Howard was impressive in his outing. He relieved Petit in the 4th, with the bases empty, having just watched his teammates surrender 10 runs in short order. He allowed a single to his first batter, then retired four of the next five, including a pair of strikeouts. On its own the 6’9 hurler’s scoreless box score line is nice, and within the added context of the day he was the first A’s pitcher to not get shredded.

After Howard came NRI reliever Matt Blackham, who finished a scoreless inning of his own despite a pair of baserunners.

On the offensive side, other than Peña’s homer, the next best performance was by Luis Barrera. The outfield prospect singled and was hit by a pitch, reaching base in two out of three trips. Ramon Laureano, Stephen Piscotty, and Seth Brown all walked, and there was a HBP for Tony Kemp.

This game was mostly A’s minor leaguers against Royals major leaguers, so a sound defeat is neither surprising nor worrisome. Dunshee didn’t do anything to ease criticisms that he needs an out pitch, but Howard was encouraging, and there’s no need to fret about Petit’s spring debut. The lineup only had a few MLB regulars in it, and they all reached base once. Some prospects and NRIs got playing time and experience.

Monday was the quintessential example of “spring training wins/stats don’t matter,” not just because the A’s lost but because of which A’s lost. Go get ‘em tomorrow!