By Joe Stiglich
Friday, April 6th, 2012 at 11:58 pm in Uncategorized.
My full game story w/quotes is on our websites for you to check out …
Disappointment was the general theme in the A’s clubhouse, as you would expect after their 7-3 loss to the Mariners in their home opener Friday. I couldn’t help but think how much this game reminded me of last year’s season-opening loss to Seattle at the Coliseum. That game was much uglier — the A’s committed five errors in a 6-2 defeat — but it was similar in that there was a jacked-up sellout crowd that saw the home team lay an egg. The A’s have to hope Friday’s game isn’t an omen of things to come.
–The one bright spot for the A’s, obviously, was Yoenis Cespedes. His fourth-inning homer was something to watch — you don’t see many balls reach the area where that ball hit. But something also struck me about his two strikeouts — they both came on fastballs. Cespedes swung through a 95 mph offering from right-hander Steve Delabar in the sixth and then watched a 93 mph fastball on the inside corner from right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen in the eighth. For all the breaking balls that Cespedes is likely to see — especially when he’s willing to chase them out of the strike zone — a well-spotted fastball on the black will be tough for him to combat if he’s looking for off-speed stuff.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said during the spring that Cespedes wasn’t really being tested defensively during Cactus League games. He had plenty of action in Friday’s game alone — Michael Saunders’ double hit directly over his head in the fourth (I didn’t see how good of a jump Cespedes got on the ball or whether he had a chance to catch it); and Ichiro Suzuki’s sacrifice fly in the sixth, when Cespedes almost nailed Brendan Ryan at the plate.
But Cespedes said he has something more basic to work on — tracking ground balls as they scoot through the Coliseum’s outfield grass. One ball kicked away from him Friday, though it didn’t allow anyone to advance. “I have to try to find a way to catch the ball when it’s running on the grass because the ball goes like a snake,” Cespedes said.
That’s all for now …