The Athletics started this evening’s inaugural AL battle with the Houston Astros off with a bang when Coco Crisp led off the game by hooking a solo home run around the foul pole in right field. The A’s had a chance to to put a crooked number on the board against former Athletics minor leaguer and would-be member of the starting rotation Brad Peacock, but they were unable to add to their early lead.
April 5, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Dan Straily (67) throws a pitch against the Houston Astros in the second inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Straily made the start for the Athletics and had quite possibly his best outing with the team. Oftentimes Straily would look great in the first inning, then struggle from that point on, but today’s game was a different story. Straily had the Astros failingto make contact on many occasions, and through his 6.2 innings of work he struck out a career high 11. But it was the offense that made the game a lopsided affair in the top of the 5th inning.
It was a costly error by shortstop Marwin Gonzalez on a potential inning ending double play ball off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes that plated two runs and opened the door for many more. John Jaso laid down a bunt that may not have been intended as a safety squeeze but it worked out that way. Josh Reddick dashed home from third and managed to elude the tag of catcher Jason Castro to score the run. After a Chris Young walk, Josh Donaldson lined a 2 run single. The scoring concluded as the A’s batted around when Coco Crisp double down the right field line to make it an 8-0 game.
The A’s definitely let Brad Peacock off the hook today, even though he only lasted 4.1 innings and allowed 3 ER. They were able to pounce on the inexperienced bullpen of the Astros though to give themselves a big cushion.
We all knew Dan Straily was going to make this one start before being sent down to Sacramento as Bartolo Colon was reinstated after serving the final 5 games of his PED suspension from last season. So regardless of how Straily performed tonight, his fate was already sealed. While I believe he very much needs to continue to polish his game in the minor leagues, tonight’s performance was an encouraging sign against a quasi major league lineup. The fact that this dominant performance did come against the Astros tempers the enthusiasm a bit about Straily, but it’s certainly better than him performing poorly against them.
Since the horribly poor start for the A’s offense, when they scored just 1 run on 6 hits over two games and went 0-2, they’re 3-0 with 22 runs scored on 31 hits. What a difference a few days make. Almost everyone contributed today, with Coco Crisp leading the charge with a 3-5 day with the lead off homer and two doubles, he also drove in 3. John Jaso went 2-3 with an RBI, Josh Donaldson was 1-4 with 2 RBI, and Jed Lowrie, Josh Reddick, Chris Young and Eric Sogard each tallied single basehits. The A’s also walked 8 times today. Only Yoenis Cespedes and Nate Freiman were left out of the hit column. Freiman though seems to be getting “BABIP’d” a bit, he’s really hitting the ball hard. It’s an incredibly small sample size, but there seems to be some potential there to be a solid backup to Brandon Moss at first base. Good on the big guy.
Pat Neshek struggled a bit, failing to retire any of the 3 batters he faced tonight, allowing 2 hits and a walk before Chris Resop retired Brett Wallace to bail him out. Evan Scribner worked the final two innings allowing 2 hits and a run with a couple strikeouts.
The A’s move above the .500 mark for the first time in 2013 at 3-2 as they prepare to take on the Astros once again tomorrow evening. Bartolo Colon will make his 2013 debut against a familiar foe Erik Bedard.