If Bob Melvin was looking for some stability out of Dan Straily, it certainly wasn’t on display today against the Dodgers. The projected fourth starter in the rotation (at least until Bartolo Colon has finished serving the rest of his suspension for a positive drug test) gave up two home runs in the first inning, and his manager was not pleased after Straily appeared to be out of the inning with two quick outs before walking the third batter and giving up consecutive jacks to Yasiel Puig and Jerry Hairston to make it 3-0 after the first.
Straily has given up 17 hits and 13 runs over 13.2 innings so far in spring training on a major league roster, and you get the feeling that if neither he or Travis Blackwell show some signs of improvement, Melvin will be without the safety valve in the bullpen that they represented when one of the starters ran into trouble in 2012.
To his credit, Straily calmed down after the first and didn’t allow a run in the three other innings he pitched. Still, it’s obvious from Melvin’s statement above that he’s not willing to write off one bad inning just because Straily performed well after that, because baseball games are lost by innings like that.
He didn’t get much in the way of run support either. Yoenis Cespedes scored the only run of the game on a solo home run in the fifth. That must’ve felt good for the Cuban slugger, as he’s only hitting .194 with 5 RBI thus far in spring training. He also showed off his cannon of an arm in the bottom half of the inning when he threw out his countryman Puig at second after he misplayed a shallow fly ball.
Coco Crisp, Eric Sogard and Adam Rosales were the only other Oakland players to record a hit in the game. Sogard and Rosales are interesting pieces in the infield, and while both are likely to be used primarily in utility roles, they’re hitting .531 and .407 respectively, and it certainly gives Melvin options if no clear winner emerges for the starting spot at second base.
Oakland is off tomorrow, and they’ll resume Cactus League play on Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds at 1:05 PDT.