A’s first base decision remains TBA

For those of you who stayed up to follow last night’s game, did the A’s motivate you to do the same tonight? It certainly wasn’t an inspiring offensive performance, and it looked quite familiar to the team we’ve seen flounder hitting-wise the past few seasons. But that’s just one game – against one of baseball’s best in Felix Hernandez – so we’ll see what the A’s bring tonight. Getting swept in the first two games of the season certainly is nothing to panic over, but I would think salvaging a split would be a lift psychologically. After traveling so far to play, you want more to show for your efforts than just the memories and a suitcase full of souvenirs .

The lineups:
A’s – Weeks 2B, Pennington SS, Crisp LF, Gomes DH, Suzuki C, Cespedes CF, Reddick RF, Donaldson 3B, Ka’aihue 1B; Colon RHP

Mariners – Figgins LF, Ackley 2B, Ichiro RF, Smoak 1B, Montero DH, Seager 3B, Olivo C, Saunders CF, Ryan SS; Vargas LHP.

With a lefty on the mound, Jonny Gomes gets the start at DH and Kila Ka’aihue plays first base. Manager Bob Melvin liked Ka’aihue’s at-bats this spring against left-handers better than Brandon Allen’s. But it’s looking like the decision on a starting first baseman will go perhaps through the final four exhibitions in the Bay Area. Melvin said he still considers it a three-man race, with Daric Barton joining Allen and Ka’aihue. Are you surprised to still be hearing Barton’s name in the mix? I’m wondering myself if he can be ready to roll April 6 considering how little he’s faced big league competition this spring.

There are lots of factors at play here. Allen and Ka’aihue are out of options, meaning the A’s run the risk of losing those players to a waiver claim if they try sending one of them (or both) to the minors. It could be that the A’s are gauging trade interest right now in Allen and/or Ka’aihue. Certainly they would like to get something in return for one of the players rather than losing them to waivers and not get any compensation. “There are some variables involved,” Melvin said about first base. “We have to make some decisions here, especially if we feel like (Barton) is ready to play in regular season games.”

Yoenis Cespedes moves up a spot in the order to hit sixth. We’ll see how he looks after getting his first big league game out of the way.

–It’s been a great overall experience in Tokyo, although I’ll leave with the same thoughts I had in 2008: I wish I had more free time to spend wandering around this city and exploring everything it has to offer. It’s definitely a place I would plan a vacation to.

Enjoy the game (and stay awake!)

P.S: My prediction about Dustin Ackley being the Mariners’ impact player in last night’s game turned out pretty well, huh? The Josh Reddick prediction? Not so much. As for tonight, I’m getting a strong Coco Crisp feeling. And let’s take Justin Smoak for Seattle.

Joe Stiglich