I spent my second full day in Arizona at the Cactus League game between Cleveland and Oakland in Goodyear. There wasn’t a big crowd, but the A’s fans got loud in the ninth when they were trying to make a mini comeback.
The A’s brought a good portion of their expected starting lineup to Goodyear, including newbies Ben Zobrist and Billy Butler. Zobrist played shortstop, while Butler was at first base. He made a few nice plays over there, including beating Indians shortstop Jose Ramirez to the bag on a backhanded play.
At Goodyear, they have a promotion that if the Indians score three runs by the 3rd inning, everyone gets a Baskin Robbins coupon. Well, the Indians scored three runs in the first before the A’s and starter Chris Bassitt recorded the second out.
Carlos Santana then back-legged a two-run home run in the third. Lonnie Chisenhall had three hits.
Zach McAllister continued his quest to earn a rotation spot. He threw four scoreless innings and allowed just two hits. The lone run he allowed was unearned, when Butler scored from second base on a potential double play ball (and Santana could not handle the throw at first base).
On the A’s side, Butler went 1-for-2 with two strikeouts.
Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte pitched the eighth for the A’s. I’ve seen him plenty of times when he was in the minor leagues with the NY Yankees and in the World Baseball Classic with Team Italy, so I wasn’t in awe of what he was doing. But it was still fun to watch him pitch.
Venditte walked leadoff hitter Mike Papi, who was playing in the College World Series last summer. Then another former Royal, Adam Moore, singled. Up came switch-hitter Michael Martinez, who had to switch his helmet to face Venditte. Venditte then got three straight pop ups to escape the jam (including former Indians top pick Clint Frazier).
Tomorrow (Tuesday), I’ll be back in Goodyear. During the day, I will be watching the Indians Double-A and Triple-A teams face the Chicago White Sox same levels. At night, I will be seeing the Indians play the SF Giants. TJ House, who is a favorite of mine, will get the start for the Indians in his competition for a rotation spot. Another former Royal, Scott Downs, is supposed to pitch for the Indians in relief. Ryan Vogelsong will start for the Giants.