In Arizona facing the Cleveland Guardians, starting pitcher Adam Oller had a solid day in his second appearance of the spring. The right hander pitched three shutout innings on only 19 pitches, yielding just a single. With such a low pitch count, he went back out there to start the fourth inning and finally got tagged, giving up a leadoff double and an RBI single up the middle. He finished his day on a high note, however, striking out his final batter before the bullpen came on in relief.
- Adam Oller: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K
The bats, meanwhile, couldn’t do much of anything against Shane Bieber, getting just one single through the first three frames. It wasn’t until they got into the Cleveland bullpen did the bats wake up.
With two on and one out, Esteury Ruiz came to the plate hoping to collect his first hit of the spring and tie this game up. Oh, he did that and then some, yanking a 3-run home run to give Oakland the lead:
#1 on the field, #1 in our hearts pic.twitter.com/UxwUI44JGl— Oakland A's (@Athletics) March 4, 2023
The bullpen couldn’t get a shutdown inning, though. Reliever Austin Pruitt got two quick outs to start the top of the sixth but then a fielding error by Aledmys Diaz at shortstop and a 2-run jack tied this game up at 3. Cleveland loaded the bases but the bullpen didn’t break and they escaped the frame without any more damage being done.
Oakland had a chance to retake the lead when Denzel Clarke hit a 2-out triple in the bottom half of the frame but Kevin Smith struck out after pinch hitting for Ruiz.
They wouldn’t waste their next chance. A leadoff double in the seventh put the go-ahead run for the A’s in scoring position and outfielder Cal Stevenson brought him home with an RBI single to right to retake the lead for Oakland.
And again, the bullpen couldn’t give the team a shutdown inning. A single, double, and wild pitch tied this game right back up for Cleveland in the eighth. The A’s wiggled out of a dangerous runners at the corners and nobody out situation in the top of the ninth to keep it tied, but Oakland couldn’t do anything in the bottom half, and the game ended in a 4-4 tie.
Meanwhile, the other half of the team was in Las Vegas and faced off against the Cincinnati Reds.
The bats jumped on Reds starter Hunter Greene in the first. Outfielder Conner Capel got the A’s on the board with a solo home run, his first of the spring:
A Shea Langeliers plunk job and a Seth Brown RBI double gave them their second run, and a pair of wild pitches brought Brownie in for their third run of the inning.
Ray Fosse woulda been raving about Shea Langeliers' speed ♂️ pic.twitter.com/l2bpK6auZv— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) March 4, 2023
On the other side of the ball, A’s starter Drew Rucinski, making his second start of the spring, had a quick 1-2-3 first inning and got the first two outs of the second before things went sideways. Back-to-back doubles and a 2-run home run quickly erased that 3-run lead Oakland had and suddenly it was all tied up. Rucinski bounced back in a nice way in the third, collecting a pair of strikeouts to put a bow on his day.
- Drew Rucinski: 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 5 K
Cincinnati jumped on the first man out of the ‘pen, collecting three singles to take the lead in the top of the fourth. The A’s had a great chance to tie it back up in the bottom half of the frame but Crisitian Pache grounded into a double play with runners at the corners on a 3-0 count, ending the inning. Devastating.
The game started to get away from the A’s in the sixth when the Reds scored four runs to extend their lead to 8-3.
Oakland wouldn’t go down without a fight in this one. They loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom half of the frame, setting up Jordan Diaz for a big chance. And he took advantage on the first pitch he saw, clearing the bases with a double into the right field corner to get the A’s back to within striking distance:
Another Capel walk brought top prospect Tyler Soderstrom up to the plate for his first at-bat of the day and a chance to either tie or take the lead but the rookie struck out to end the rally.
Oakland got another big hit the next inning. A two-out single and walk brought up Kevin Cron, who demolished a ball and sent it over the center field fence for a 3-run shot to give Oakland the lead.
Soderstrom came up in the eighth and just missed a home run, but still motored all the way around the bases in an attempt for an inside the park home run but was thrown out at the plate:
What a crazy play— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) March 4, 2023
Tyler Soderstrom just missed a dinger for the second straight day but he motors for inside-the-parker, only to be thrown out at home. He can't believe the call pic.twitter.com/D8UHZyFPhy
Oh well. The A’s had charged all the way back and just needed six more outs from the bullpen to get the win.
Unfortunately, down to their final out the Reds scored twice in the top of the ninth to take the lead, and the A’s went down in order to end the game.
We do it all again tomorrow, with half the team taking on the Padres and the other half getting another crack at the Reds.
Notes from both games:
Notes from both games:
- Trevor May got into game action and had a perfect 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout. He should be a nice addition to the bullpen.
- Former 1st-round pick Logan Davidson got an at-bat today, grounding into a forceout but then getting caught trying to steal second base.
- Former Mariners closer Drew Steckenrider allowed a run but also collected a couple strikeouts. He’s still a possible bullpen option.
- Infielder Kevin Smith did not have a good day, striking out twice in two at-bats and making a late-game error at shortstop. The Chapman trade continues to look worse and worse.
- Outfielder Lawrence Butler had a bad day, too, striking out in both of his at-bats.
- New addition JJ Bleday had a great day (ha), collecting three singles, a walk, and stolen base while playing center field in the Reds game. Could he actually break camp with the club?
- And Seth Brown had a pair of doubles (and a hard-hit out), looking ready for Opening Day and possibly a big season.