The finish line is in sight

There are packed boxes sitting around everywhere in the A’s clubhouse – no doubt that “getaway day” is approaching. The A’s play their final Cactus League game Sunday afternoon against the Rockies, then fly back to the Bay Area that night. I’ll be doing the same, and the chilly (at least by Phoenix standards) Bay Area weather will take some getting used to.

–As for the baseball news, we may get word later in the afternoon on the A’s rotation – who the fifth starter is, and the order of guys. Manager Bob Geren did say the first four, in order, are likely to be Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden, assuming those pitchers come out of their upcoming throwing sessions feeling well. That would be three lefties in a row, but it’s not like opponents would see three identical pitchers back to back to back. Braden’s off-speed stuff sets him apart from Anderson and Gonzalez, and even Anderson and Gonzalez are slightly different. Both throw mid-90’s fastballs, but Anderson uses a sharp slider, while Gonzalez has more of a traditional curve ball.

The lineups:

A’s: Crisp CF, Sweeney RF, Willingham LF, Matsui DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Jackson 1B, LaRoche 2B, Powell C, Sogard SS; McCarthy RHP

Angels: Izturis DH, Kendrick 2B, Abreu RF, Callaspo 3B, Aybar SS, Mathis C, Bourjos CF, Trumbo 1B, Pettit LF; Palmer RHP

–A couple of Hideki Matsui’s former teammates with the Yomiuri Giants – Koji Goto and Yukinaga Maeda – dropped by camp to visit. Matsui had dinner with both of them last night along with Angels pitcher Hisanori Takahashi. Goto talked admirably of Matsui’s generosity and efforts to mobilize support for Japan’s earthquake and tsunami victims. Goto also cautioned that Matsui gets off to a slow start every season. He’s hitting .125 so far this spring. “In Japan, he was the same way,” Goto said. “The monster only appears after summer comes.” Great line …

–A note on yesterday’s game: Right fielder David DeJesus made the best defensive play I’ve seen by an A’s player this spring, extending flat-out for a diving catch in right-center. Just pretty … I had heard lukewarm reviews on his range in the outfield, but he covered a lot of ground to get that ball …

–Brian Fuentes is scheduled to throw today, his second of back-to-back outings. He’s been knocked around pretty good in his last two games (5 ER in 1 1/3 IP) after he started his spring with six straight scoreless outings. Geren said he wasn’t too concerned with that since Fuentes faced Arizona in each of the last two appearances, an unfamiliar opponent. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares against the Angels, a team he’ll be seeing plenty. … Craig Breslow will also make his second appearance.

Joe Stiglich

  • crister

    Any plans for chat sessions during the season? Jerry Mac’s got us spoiled.

  • Marc

    Good job Joe, quick point-Don’t you think the A’s would be better off to put Braden between Anderson and Gio? Separate the power pitching of those 2 and throw timing of hitters off. Your thoughts

  • Thanks Joe, I don’t comment often but read regularly.
    You have followed closely this spring and I was wondering who you would pick as our 5th starter?

  • Joe Stiglich

    I’d go with McCarthy, and I’m not just saying that because Geren named him the winner today! … He’s got a bit of experience and he’s looked very good this spring (Friday’s game notwithstanding)… I just think Ross could use some more seasoning at Triple-A. There’s no rush on this guy, and I don’t think he’s so great as a reliever that you absolutely have to keep him on the 25-man roster in that capacity. But (as I noted in the blog I just posted) I think the A’s will keep Ross as their final reliever rather than Bobby Cramer. Cramer has no major league experience out of the ‘pen …

  • Joe Stiglich

    Marc, good point on slipping Braden between Anderson and Gonzalez. I’m with you on this. … When I asked Geren about it a few days ago, he said he doesn’t consider Anderson and Gonzalez all that similar — mainly because Anderson throws a hard slider and Gonzalez goes with a slower curve ball.

    Still, I’d drop a junk-baller between the two of them …