All eyes were on A’s pitcher Kyle Muller in today’s exhibition against team Colombia as took on the visiting Team Colombia at Hohokam Stadium in the Valley of the Sun for Wednesdays exhibition game. The former second round pick was looking to bounce back after his last start against the Kansas City Royals and wasted no time finding his groove. Muller retired the first two batters he faced and ended the inning by getting Gio Urshela to pop out to Jonah Bride. The A’s fail to get a runner on base and go down 1-2-3 to the end the 1st inning.
Muller continued to work quickly and looked sharp early. The lefty is still trying to establish his slider against right-handed batters. He gave up one run in the second when Oscar Mercado singled to left field and scored Elias Diaz. Another scoreless inning for the A’s who are suprisingly ranked in the top five in runs scored for the Cactus League.
Conner Capel put the A’s on the board in the bottom of the third scoring Cristian Pache and Nick Allen on a line drive single to center field. Oakland led 2-1 heading into the top of the fourth.
Mercado tied the score 2-2 and ended Muller’s day with a solo home run in the fourth. Muller’s stats for the day would be 3.2 IP, 5 Hits, 2 runs, 3 SO. Reliever Chad Smith came into the game and ended the frame with a strikeout of Fabian Pertuz. Oakland’s lineup continued to struggle managing just three hits through the first four innings.
The righty Chad Smith came back out for the fifth 5th and retired the side in order to keep the score tied 2-2. He would finish the day going 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 SO. Smith looks to build on his spring performance and establish himself as a major contributor once the season starts. Colombia took a 3-2 lead in the sixth as Mercado brought home Diaz with a sacrifice fly off A’s reliever Freddy Tarnok. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 8th inning, the Oakland A’s let a golden opportunity slip away trailing 3-2 when Darell Hernaiz struck out swinging to end the inning.
The A’s coaching staff wanted to see Muller get deeper into the game, develop a rhythm, and eat up some innings. The lefty had a good day on the mound and kept the A’s within striking distance for a little over three innings. But the lack of run support from the Oakland lineup would plague the pitching staff all game. The story of the day was Team Colombia centerfielder Oscar Mercado who had himself a day at the plate collecting 2 Hits, 1 HR and 3 RBIs. The Oakland lineup continued their Jekyll and Hyde spring and failed to make any noise at the plate. The lone bright spot for Oakland was their continued ability to successfully steal bases. The green and gold are 17/19 this spring in stolen base attempts. The Oakland A’s (3-7-2) drop their exhibition game to Team Colombia 3-2 and look to rebound tomorrow against the Los Angeles Dodgers (6-2) at Hohokam Stadium. Colombian pitcher Guillermo Zuniga (3-2) gets the win and Oakland pitcher Freddy Tarnok (0-1) takes the loss. For tomorrows game, Drew Rucinski (0-1) (5 IP, 10.80 ERA) will get the start and the Dodgers starter is TBD.