One Day, Two Losses, But One Big Win
Brett Anderson took the mound today for the A’s against the Cubs at Phoenix Muni allowing two runs (one earned) which is all the Cubs would need as they defeated the offensively challenged Athletics 8-1. The A’s managed only three hits in the contest off of a bevy of non-rotation pitchers from the North Side of Chicago. What was most disturbing for A’s fans was that this split-squad lineup was clearly the A squad with six of the starters being projected starters in the regular season. The three hits were achieved by Coco Crisp (now hitting .471 after his 1-for-3 day caused his average to fall thirteen points), Daric Barton and Wes Timmons.
In an equally unremarkable day in the Valley of the Sun over in Surprise the Royals defeated the other half of the A’s 4-3. On the day that a big Conor Jackson decision could be made (though he can still be released through the remainder of Spring Training with the A’s only responsible for 45 days of pay, today was the last day he could be let loose with the A’s only responsible for 30 days of pay) he went 1-for-3 with a double to raise his average to .091. Chris Carter whose two home runs yesterday were overshadowed by Andrew Bailey‘s injury also collected a hit and in an encouraging performance Cliff Pennington went 2-for-4 as he recovers from injury. The star of the game was Brandon McCarthy who threw 5 2/3 innings striking out four walking none and allowing only two runs (both earned). McCarthy seems to have locked down that fifth starter spot with today’s performance which had manager Bob Geren gushing saying, “He was outstanding. That’s one of our best starts this spring from any of our guys. He almost went six innings and did a nice job. He was efficient with his pitches. He’s still fighting for that fifth starter’s spot. Without a doubt. It was a very good outing.”
In better news, Andrew Bailey whose cross country trip to Birmingham to see future Hall-of-Famer Dr. James Andrews was diagnosed with merely a forearm strain. The good doctor said that Bailey can resume throwing as soon as he is asymptomatic, which means it looks like Bailey might not miss any time at all and could break camp with the A’s. So much for everyone’s overblown concern?
One more thing to note regarding the Bailey situation was something that Joe Stiglich in the Inside the A’s blog wrote:
“I talked to catcher Landon Powell, who was behind the plate when Bailey suffered the injury, and he shared some insight.
‘He had some tightness in his elbow,’ Powell said. ‘Definitely going into the inning, he didn’t feel normal. But he felt good enough to pitch. Obviously he didn’t think anything like that was going to happen. You wish you could freeze time. It sucks.’
But Powell added that Bailey has also felt some discomfort before taking the mound in the past, and the reliever made it through those outings fine.”