Last night A’s fans were treated to something very special: Vin Mazarro made his major league debut for the A’s in Chicago.
The 22 year-old pitcher from Rutherford, New Jersey was called up yesterday to join the starting rotation, whose oldest member is a mere 25 years old. That would be Dallas Braden, whose total MLB experience consists of 35 starts over the last 3 seasons. He’s the veteran in the rotation! The next younger is Josh Outman at 24, and Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson are both 21 years old. This is the youngest rotation in all of major league baseball.
Mazarro didn’t disappoint. He struggled a bit in the first 2 innings, but made quality pitches when he needed to and was helped out by stellar defense, including his great wheel and pickoff of Scott Podsednik as the latter strayed off 2nd base in the 1st.
From the 3rd inning on, Vin got his nerves under control and pitched 4.1 innings of shutout ball with ease. Craig Breslow came in and got a double play to end the 7th inning and Brad Ziegler pitched the 8th and 9th innings. Neither gave up a run, preserving Mazarro’s 1st major league win, a 5-0 shutout of the White Sox.
Mazarro was also helped by two great catches in the outfield. Ryan Sweeney did a face plant into the padding in centerfield padding as he caught a long fly ball near the top of the wall, robbing Paul Konerko of extra bases. Matt Holliday made a nice shoe string catch as well.
Vin had a couple of dozen family members and friends from all over the country in the stands to cheer him on. They could be heard making lots of noise with every strike and out that Mazarro rang up. His dad hardly sat down for the 6+ innings his son pitched.
After he settled down, Mazarro’s pitches looked like those of a seasoned veteran, with great movement and velocity in the low to mid 90’s and he located his pitches very well. “He kept us off balance. He had good stuff,” said Scott Podsednik. “You can see why their organization was high on him and brought him up and gave him a shot.”
When manager Bob Geren announced Mazarro’s call up a couple of days ago, he said, “The future is now!” Vin certainly put paid to Geren’s words. In short, Vin Mazarro showed us that he is the complete package, and I am sure that his success and poise on the mound, in what must have been a nerve-wracking pressure-packed situation, will rub off on the other young pitchers on the staff.
Last night was truly special, for Vin, the A’s and the fans. It was a glimpse into what is possible in the very near future, and gave the fans what they need most right now: legitimate hope. Maybe–keep your fingers crossed–it will translate into more butts in the seats at the Coliseum the rest of the season.
On that note, the A’s ran another hit promotion last night, taking a dollar off a plaza-level ticket for Saturday’s game against the Orioles. The A’s got 8 hits last night so a $24 dollar ticket will now cost $16 each. Go to the A’s website to order tickets and use the discount code “Hits” to get the reduced price. Oh, and the game starts at 6:00 pm because there’s a free Jordan Sparks concert immediately following the game. Such a deal!
The A’s opened a 6-game series on the road in Toronto Friday night. A’s startier Josh Outman got knocked around by the Blue Jays, starting with a screaming homer by Marco Scutaro on the first pitch of the game. Outman gave up 4 more runs in the third, two of them earned, putting th A’s in the hole 5-1. “Poor, quite poor,” Outman admitted. “Our bullpen has been excellent, but I’ve got to make it through five [innings]. I’m killing the bullpen.” Said bullpen, which shut down the Jays league-best offense for the rest of the game, ranked third in American League with a 3.19 ERA before the game. “It’s pretty impressive,” said Bobby Crosby.
But the real story happened when the A’s had bats in their hands: they scored 7 unanswered runs: 4 in the 4th, 1 in the 7th and 2 in the 8th, to win it 8-5.
The big hit came from an unlikely source, newly-minted utility infielder, Bobby Crosby. In the 4th inning, he stroked his 2nd hit of the season, a line-drive triple to the center field wall which cleared the bases which were loaded with A’s, That hit put the A’s back in the game 5-4. A wild pitch scored Crosby from 3rd to tie it up.
Bobby also made some nifty plays at third base. He said after the game he is getting more comfortable playing the other infield positions than his historical spot at short stop.
In the 7th inning, Matt Holliday’s double scored Orlando Cabrara to give the A’s the lead for good. In the 8th, Mark Ellis singled, scoring Suzuki who doubled. Ellie then stole 2nd and went to 3rd on a wild pitch. Sweeney hit a grounder to 3rd driving in Ellis,
to complete the scoring.
Brad Ziegler high-fives Suzuki (at right) after closing it out in the ninth.
This is the kind of game I hope we will see for the rest of the season. The guys showed that they don’t give up when the starting pitcher gets in trouble. It is a real pleasure to have some bats in the middle of the order, which has inspired everyone on the team, especially the guys at the bottom of the order.
On another note, the A’s called up Dan Giese from Sacamento. Maybe they want to get a look at him, since he was claimed on waivers from the Yankees on April 8th. Otherwise, I would have thought Jeff Gray would get the call.