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D-backs Rattled by A’s Offense

March 24, 2011

The “big news” of the day came before the game even started when it became official that Trevor Cahill is the 2011 opening day starter and will take the hill versus Felix Hernandez on April 1st at the Coliseum. For several days with the shuffling of Bob Geren‘s pitching who the opening day starter was took on additional intrigue and today we finally know the result. Cahill, who finished ninth in Cy Young Award voting last year will start the first season opener of his short career.

On to the game! Didn’t get a chance to live blog this one, but did listen to it as I was driving (hence no live blog). Tyson Ross got the start and looked very impressive and though I still think the fifth starter spot belongs to Brandon McCarthy should a vacancy appear during the year I have full confidence as Tyson Ross really has proven himself to be the “#5A starter”. Earning the win, Ross went 5 2/3 innings, allowing only one run (earned) on four hits while walking two and striking out three. He was followed by Jerry Blevins who threw only one third of an inning, then Michael Wuertz, Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes who all threw an inning a piece. Balfour was perfect but Wuertz and Fuentes continued to struggle in the Cactus League with Wuertz allowing four runs (two earned) on three hits while both walking and striking out one in his frame. Meanwhile Fuentes allowed two runs (earned) on three hits while neither walking nor striking anyone out.

The story today really was all about the offense and my was there as the A’s defeated the D-Backs 15-7 at Salt Fields at Talking Stick the new spring home of both Arizona and the Colorado Rockies. Every starter aside from Tyson Ross (the Diamondbacks would not permit the A’s to use a designated hitter) reached base – Ross in fact never even swung the bat striking out four times looking. Ironically the D-backs “strategy” of prohibiting the A’s from using the DH paid dividends as in the eight-run top of the sixth two of the three outs were Tyson Ross strikeouts without the bat leaving his shoulder preventing perhaps and even larger offensive outburst. Matt Carson and Hideki Matsui were the only other two starters without hits but Carson walked four times and Matsui (who started the game and played five innings in left field) once. David DeJesus, Conor Jackson and Kevin Kouzmanoff all got three hits (each going 3-for-4) with one of Kouzmanoff’s hits being a home run off of Joe Saunders. Landon Powell also added a home run off of former A’s prospect Sam Demel.

In mop-up duty three position players saw their first action of the spring: Todd Johnson who played right field and went 0-for-2; Adam Heether who played first base and went 0-for-1; and Jeremy Barfield who pinch hit for Wuertz and then played left field while going 0-for-1. Johnson has spent his entire career in the A’s farm system after being selected in the 2006 amateur draft, he spent last season in high-A Stockton hitting .205/.267/.326 with six home runs in 82 games. Adam Heether – claimed off waivers from Milwaukee last June – spent last season split between Sacramento and Nashville (Milwaukee’s Triple-A affiliate) hitting a combined .237/.357/.380 with ten home runs. Jeremy Barfield was a selection of the A’s in the 2008 amateur draft, and spent last season with the Stockton Ports hitting .272/.340/.417 with 17 home runs. Jeremy is the son of former Blue Jays and Yankees right-fielder and All-Star Jesse Barfield and brother of former Padres and Indians second baseman (currently in camp with Philadelphia) Josh Barfield.

Daric Barton sat today out with a bruise, everyone claims it is not serious and we’ll take them at their word.

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