A's spring training Day 28: Hahn stating his case for rotation spot

A's spring training Day 28: Hahn stating his case for rotation spot

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — He entered camp as one of the A’s players with the most to prove, and so far Jesse Hahn is delivering.

The right-hander fired four scoreless innings Monday, one of the lone bright spots in Oakland’s 3-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds that snapped the A’s six-game winning streak.

Hahn has a 3.12 ERA in three appearances (two starts), but that doesn’t include a scoreless three innings against Team Italy, which doesn’t count toward his official Cactus League stats. Include that outing, and Hahn has surrendered just three runs in 11 2/3 innings, with 11 strikeouts and two walks.

“That’s the way we expect Jesse to pitch,” manager Bob Melvin said of Monday’s outing. “Even if he has to back off the throttle on fastball velocity, the sink is what made him successful two years ago, so it was good to see. The ball was down in the zone, he was getting a lot of balls beat into the ground. And when we’ve seen him in the past pitch well, that’s what he’s done.”

Though Melvin wouldn’t address it directly, Hahn is pitching his way into strong consideration for one of the two available spots that exist in the A’s rotation in light of Sonny Gray’s injury. Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea and Jharel Cotton line up as the top three starters, with Graveman setting up well to get the Opening Night call on April 3 against the Angels. Melvin hasn’t made an announcement yet.

Regarding Hahn’s rotation candidacy, Melvin offered only: “We’ve got a long way to go, but he came into camp with that in mind, and certainly what he did a couple years ago would suggest he’s got the ability to pitch well at the big league level.”

Hahn posted a 3.35 ERA in 16 starts for Oakland in 2015 but fell on hard times last year, failing to make the club out of spring training and seeing his ERA rise to 6.02 in nine major league starts.

NOTEWORTHY: Graveman started against the Reds and went 3 2/3 innings, his day spoiled on his last pitch, when Brandon Dixon hit an elevated fastball for a two-run homer in the fourth that gave Cincinnati a 3-0 lead.

Other than that, Graveman was pleased with his ability to mix in some breaking balls and changeups effectively. He allowed four hits and three runs, with one strikeout and one walk.

Last season, Graveman hit his stride when he began showing confidence in his sinker and throwing it often. Figure he’ll ride that strength heavily again if the sinker is dialed in, but the right-hander also sees the value in his off-speed pitches.

“Today was the first day (this spring) we flipped the lineup a time or two,” he said. “The third time facing some of these guys, you realize they’ve seen a lot of fastballs. I think you can start getting ahead of hitters with some off-speed stuff.”

LIGHTER SIDE: Somehow, Trevor Plouffe’s No. 3 jersey never made it to Goodyear, and the A’s third baseman wound up taking the field wearing No. 94. That made Plouffe look primed to rush a quarterback, but on a serious note, he made a nifty barehand pick-up and throw to first to retire Dilson Herrera in the fifth.

ODDS AND ENDS: Non-roster outfielder Chris Parmelee homered in the ninth to help the A’s avoid a shutout. They mustered just three hits in a game that wrapped in a tidy 2 hours, 15 minutes. … Reliever Sean Doolittle remains on target to make his first Cactus League appearance Tuesday against the Rockies in Mesa.

 

Instant Replay: Casilla blows save in 10th, Angels walk off in 11th

Instant Replay: Casilla blows save in 10th, Angels walk off in 11th

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM – After the A’s appeared to deal a knockout blow in the 10th inning, the Angels countered and ended up handing the A’s their first walk-off loss of 2017.

Kole Calhoun’s two-out single off Ryan Madson in the 11th scored Danny Espinosa and Los Angeles hung a 2-1 loss on the A’s on Tuesday to open a three-game series at Angel Stadium.

Mike Trout hit a game-tying homer off Santiago Casilla to lead off the bottom of the 10th. That came right after A’s pinch hitter Josh Phegley broke a scoreless tie by hitting the first pitch of the top of the 10th for a homer to right-center off Jose Alvarez.

For two teams who didn’t advance a single runner past first base through the first nine innings, the A’s and Angels packed a lot of excitement into the extra frames.

Phegley delivered the A’s first pinch homer in extras since Chris Carter hit one against Seattle on July 6, 2012. After Trout answered with his homer, Albert Pujols lined a single off Casilla, who came in having allowed opponents just one hit over 23 at-bats this season. Ben Revere pinch-ran for Pujols and stole second, representing the winning run with no outs. But Casilla buckled down and stranded him there to keep it a 1-1 game.

Espinosa led off the bottom of the 11th with a single off Madson, then Martin Maldonado executed a two-strike sacrifice bunt to move him to second. With two outs, Calhoun lined his game-winner to left-center, and Espinosa easily beat Jaff Decker’s throw to the plate.

A’s starter Jesse Hahn was outstanding, facing just two batters over the minimum over eight innings and limiting the Angels to one hit. The only problem was the A’s couldn’t get anything going on their end against right-hander J.C. Ramirez, who threw seven scoreless innings. All told, they struck out 11 times against five Angels pitchers.

Starting pitching report:
Hahn was as dialed in as he’s been wearing an A’s uniform. Manager Bob Melvin talks often of the upside he thinks the right-hander has, and Hahn demonstrated that Tuesday. He coaxed 12 ground-ball outs but also showed a good curve ball and struck out six. Hahn walked two, but after the one single he gave up to Marte in the fifth, he promptly picked Marte off first.

Bullpen report:
Sean Doolittle threw a perfect ninth to send the game into extra innings scoreless, and he struck out Kole Calhoun with two nasty sliders. Looking to protect a 1-0 lead in the 10th, Casilla fell behind Trout 2-0 and Trout sliced a homer to the right field corner that landed just inside the foul pole.

At the plate:
The A’s mustered just five hits total.

Ryon Healy, hitting .524 over his previous seven games entering the night, got a start in the No. 2 spot and struck out swinging four times in five at-bats.

The A’s got the leadoff hitter aboard in four of five innings from the fourth through the eighth but couldn’t cash in. And with the strong-armed Martin Maldonado behind the plate for the Angels, Oakland couldn’t jump-start things on the bases. Jaff Decker was thrown out at second so easily in the fourth that he didn’t even bother to slide, as it appeared either him or Healy missed a sign.

In the field:
In line with how well Hahn was dealing, the A’s defense played stingy. Matt Joyce made a diving catch in right to rob Jefry Marte to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Jed Lowrie made a nice play from the outfield grass to retire Danny Espinosa in the sixth. Credit Hahn for keeping his infielders engaged with so many ground-ball outs.

Attendance:
The announced turnout was 30,124.

Up next:
In the middle contest of this three-game set, Sean Manaea (1-1, 4.43) squares off against Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 4.98) on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Shoemaker’s six homers allowed are tied for third most in the American League.

 

A's lineup: Healy batting second, Khris Davis back in vs Angels

A's lineup: Healy batting second, Khris Davis back in vs Angels

PROGRAMMING ALERT: A's-Angels coverage begins at 6pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

After batting fourth on Sunday, Ryon Healy moves up a couple of spots on the opener against the Angels on Tueday evening.

Oakland A's:
1. Jaff Decker (L) CF
2. Ryon Healy (R) DH
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Stephen Vogt (L) C
6. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
7. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
8. Matt Joyce (L) RF
9. Adam Rosales (R) SS
Jesse Hahn -- RHP

Los Angeles Angels:
1. Yunel Escobar (R) 3B
2. Kole Calhoun (L) RF
3. Mike Trout (R) CF
4. Albert Pujols (R) DH
5. Jefry Marte (R) 1B
6. Andrelton Simmons (R) SS
7. Cameron Maybin (R) LF
8. Danny Espinosa (S) 2B
9. Martin Maldonado (R) C
JC Ramirez -- RHP