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Split Sunday

March 21, 2011

The A’s had their final split squad contests of the Cactus League season yesterday and as seems to always be the case won one and lost one. In Scottsdale, Brandon McCarthy locked down his position as the fifth starter (I don’t see how anyone can possibly feel he didn’t) going seven innings, striking out five, walking none while allowing two earned runs on five hits. A great outing. Offensively in the game Chris Carter got a triple, and a 2-for-4 day pushed Matt Carson‘s average north of .300 (.302). A’s beat the cross bay rival Giants 6-4.

In Phoenix meanwhile, Dallas Braden took the hill to face the Dbacks and his six innings of work yielded one Arizona run (earned) as he allowed nine hits, walked no one, and struck out two. Jerry Blevins and Grant Balfour who have both struggled this spring came in for scoreless frames, before Brian Fuentes had a rough outing that gave up the lead throwing a messy third of an inning that resulted in three earned runs, three hits and a walk – his lone out being a strikeout. On the offensive side, Eric Sogard had the big day which we had yet to see from him, going 3-for-5 as the leadoff man including a triple. Kevin Kouzmanoff had a 2-for-4 day to end a skid that dropped his average from the .500 it had been hovering at for most of the spring and now sits at a healthy .375. Also Conor Jackson had a 1-for-4 average which still bumped up his average as he is doing much better this past few days following a very rough start to his Cactus League schedule.

In position battle news, I think the fifth starter spot is a done case closed role for Brandon McCarthy though we have yet to hear any official announcements of such. The backup infielder position has been said to go to the best defender and unfortunately only being able to hear the games as opposed to watch them using that metric it is impossible to know who is in the lead, though if we look at offensive numbers Sogard’s day today certainly didn’t hurt and Andy LaRoche continues to do well. The backup catcher position, well Josh Donaldson had a 1-for-4 day today, to put his average at .300 second to Kurt Suzuki hitting .313 among catchers, but ahead of Anthony Recker (.263) and well ahead of incumbent Landon Powell (.214). The final bullpen spot is still unclear as of right now with the speed of injury recovery for some guys likely to make a big difference in who makes the club.

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