Oakland began their Bay Bridge series series not in the Bay Area and not getting a win, losing to the San Francisco Giants 5-3 in Mesa on Monday afternoon.
Starting pitcher Cole Irvin was solid for most of the day but ran into trouble in the 5th, while the A’s offense managed just 7 hits on the day, mostly singles. You’d like a winning streak heading into the season, especially against the Giants, but we’ll just have to be happy everyone is (mostly) healthy to start the year.
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The A’s and Giants traded zeros in the first inning, with Irvin getting two K’s and looking sharp while doing it. Unfortunately he would miss his location on a full count to Brandon Crawford the next inning, serving up a solo shot that just snuck over the right-center wall. With his mentality in midseason form, he brushed it off and struck out the next two batters to finish the frame and allowed only one hit the next two frames.
Then the wheels fell apart for him in the fifth inning. A single and a double would put Giants runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out and San Francisco’s #9 hitter up to the plate. Again, a pitch that should have been down drifted too high and was pulled down the left field line for a 2-run double. Irvin’s day was done after that, with the newly-promoted Zach Jackson coming on in relief. Two strikeouts would help, but a stolen base and then a wild pitch sandwiched in between would bite Oakland and bring in the Giants’ fourth run.
- Cole Irvin: 4 1⁄3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 5 K, 0 BB, 82 pitches
Even with the problems in the 5th inning, Irvin got up past 80 pitches and more or less looks ready for Opening Day. The A’s have to be hoping Irvin can be a stable rotation presence for what looks to be a young starting staff this coming season.
After a couple missed opportunities on offense in the second and fifth innings, Oakland’s offense would finally push some runs across in the bottom of the sixth. A few guys who were recently knocked out of the running for roster spots played big roles in the run-producing department today. A 1-out Stephen Vogt single and a Sheldon Neuse strikeout brought up recently reassigned Christian Bethancourt, who would put the A’s on the board with this 2-out hit:
Vogt motors around from first and scores on Bethancourt's booming double pic.twitter.com/1GOZlStlyM— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) April 4, 2022
A Drew Jackson walk would then set up 1st and 2nd for left fielder Dalton Kelly, who were both recent roster cuts:
Dalton Kelly knocks in two runs pic.twitter.com/fxKorr0il2— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) April 4, 2022
And that was it for the offense. San Francisco would ruin a possible shutdown inning in the 7th with a solo shot off of Dany Jimenez, another arm recently promoted to the Opening Day bullpen, while the A’s would go down in order in each of the seventh, eight, and ninth innings to finish the game and the loss.
All in all not a great result, but as much as you’d like to win in these final days of spring to build some momentum, getting in and out of this exhibition game without injury should be a win on its own. Oakland will look to finish Spring Training 2022 on a high note tomorrow afternoon against these same Giants, with right-hander Daulton Jefferies in line for his final tune-up start.