Well, it wasn’t exactly the Angels team that shelled out tons of cash this offseason and last that fell to the Oakland Athletics today. Today’s Angels lineup was a shell of the lineup we expect to see when these games begin to count in April, an extremely brittle shell. In fact, this lineup more closely resembled that of the Triple A Salt Lake City Bees of Park City than the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. But a win is a win, and nobody will complain about that.
February 18, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Chris Young (25) poses for a picture during photo day at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The Athletics lineup did feature many more regulars and big league caliber players, and they made a struggling Barry Enright pay for his lack of control in the top of the first inning. Working at a snail’s pace, Enright failed to attack the strike zone, instead leaving the ball right in the middle of it for the A’s hitters to attack. Coco Crisp hit a single to lead things off, followed by a well struck, poorly judged double on a fly ball to left field over the head of Vernon Wells (remember, very thin, brittle shell) by today’s right fielder for the moment Chris Young that scored Crisp from first. Seth Smith followed with a near home run to right field that scored Young, and a nice sacrifice fly by Scott Sizemore tacked on the 3rd run of the inning. Enright wouldn’t finish the 1st and left Jarrett Grube to clean up his mess.
After the lengthy top of the 1st, Travis Blackley made his own contribution to the time clock with his laborious bottom frame. He allowed 3 hits, picked off one of them, and struck out another as he escaped the inning unharmed. Chris Young would not escape the first inning unharmed though, in making a nice leaping catch to save a couple of runs Young aggravated his quadriceps muscle and was removed from the game and replaced by Michael Taylor in right. Word from multiple reports though was that it was simply a muscle cramp, so hopefully Young won’t miss any time because of this.
Brian Gordon struggled a bit in his two innings of work, but wasn’t aided by the defense behind him, he surrendered 4 runs, only 1 earned though. Chris Resop, Pedro Figueroa, and Pat Neshek would all work clean innings in the 4th, 5th, and 6th respectively. Kyler Newby had his issues, and they should have been worse if not for a horribly blown call on a would-be home run off the bat of Bill Hall. It clearly cleared the fence and hit the hill beyond the fence and bounced back into the field of play, but Shane Peterson fielded the ball, and relayed the ball to home to nail Luis Rodriguez attempting to score, Hall ended up at second. The Angels would get a run on an RBI single by Travis Witherspoon to drive in Hall to make it a 7-5 game, and that would be the final score.
Some of the young guns provided a bit of a spark in the late innings, as Darwin Perez drove in two on a double to right, he was thrown out trying to stretch the double to a triple in the 7th inning. Michael Choice also contributed an RBI single to plate Addison Russell in the 8th inning.
James Simmons had a very good 1-2-3 9th inning, and appeared to be a strike throwing machine as he retired the side. Simmons will be an intriguing player to watch in 2013, more on him coming soon.
The A’s host their first Cactus League game at Phoenix Muni tomorrow against the Cleveland Indians, Andrew Werner will make his A’s debut as the starter. Jed Lowrie will get his first shot at 2nd base tomorrow, and many of the starters from game 1 will return to the starting lineup as well.