All the talk, all the speculation, all the anticipation, it’s all in the past now. As the A’s and Giants played the finale of the exhibition Bay Bridge Series today at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland. For the first time since October 11th, 2012 A’s fans had the opportunity to see the defending AL West Champs at home. The team delivered a victory to help greet the fans.
Dan Straily took the mound for the A’s and had his best outing of the spring against the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants. The plan for today’s game was for Straily to work the first 5 innings, and for Bartolo Colon to handle the last 4. Over Straily’s 5 innings of work he surrendered just 6 hits and no runs while striking out 5, he walked nobody as well. This had to be encouraging for Bob Melvin and the A’s staff as Straily had been roughed up a bit throughout the spring. He finished with a 5.82 ERA. Colon’s problem this spring has been the amount of hits he’s given up, he’d allowed 28 hits in 16 innings going into today’s game. He allowed just 3 hits in his 4 innings of work today, but he allowed a 3-run home run to backup catcher Guillermo Quiroz, only 2 of those runs were earned, Colon struck out 6 as he picked up the 4 inning save.
The A’s offense once again came primarily off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes, who yanked a Ryan Vogelsong pitch over the wall in left field to give the A’s a 4-0 lead. The A’s only tallied 6 hits today, 2 of which came off the bat of Coco Crisp, John Jaso, Josh Reddick, and Josh Donaldson. Eric Sogard finished the spring with a .444 average, down from the impressive .500+ average he was boasting over the last week of the Cactus League. Sogard’s play did earn him a spot on the 25-man roster, and quite possibly a spot in the Opening Day lineup on Monday.
The A’s finished the exhibition season 17-13-3, not too shabby.
After the game the final roster was announced as Hiro Nakajima was placed on the 15 day DL with the hamstring injury he suffered on Tuesday. Nate Freiman‘s audition with the Athletics will indeed continue as he grabs an infield spot. Evan Scribner grabbed the final bullpen spot in favor of Mike Ekstrom, Pedro Figueroa, and Hideki Okajima.
Perhaps the highlight of the day came when freshly designated for assignment pitcher Travis Blackley came to the Coliseum and hung out with the right field crew for a bit to soak in the game and show some love back to the fans. I’ll hold out some hope that some way some how he can stay with the organization and find his way back into an Athletics uniform, he belongs.
The team takes a full off day tomorrow before starting a 4 game series Monday night against the Seattle Mariners and Felix Hernandez (again…). The moment we’ve all waited for since October is almost here.