A’s Off to a Quick Start


One week is officially in the books for the Oakland Athletics and the rest of the MLB. The A’s, who lost their season opener against Seattle, finished the week with a win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The 5-2 A’s scored 39 runs (1st in AL) through week one. The A’s batted as a team .278 (2nd in AL) and stole four bases (6th in AL) through Saturday. The A’s took three of four from the Seattle Mariners and took two of three from the Angels.

Offensively, the A’s are playing extremely well. They’re being aggressive and getting timely hits with runners in scoring position. Surprisingly, the A’s are doing this without much power in their lineup. Many people, including myself, did not anticipate the A’s to come out firing on all cylinders like they have been. As a team, the A’s look like they have the ability to fight back against opposing pitchers, especially since their only two loses came in the ninth inning. If the A’s offense continues to run aggressively and stretch singles into doubles, they’ll have a pretty decent shot at contending for the division crown.

Defensively, the A’s looked solid. Kevin Kouzmanoff rebounded from a tough error on Opening Night, and Rajai Davis, Cliff Pennington and others have been solid on defense as well. Pitching wise, the A’s have been decent. Ben Sheets still has a ton of rust to shake off, as does Justin Duchscherer. The two veterans were knocked around a bit this week. Ben Sheets gave up 10 hits in his last outing against the Angels and Duchscherer will look to rebound from his 5 inning performance against the Mariners on Monday. Dallas Braden, Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez all performed extremely well this week, however.  Braden, who struck out a career high 10 in his first game, got the win on Sunday against the Angels. Anderson, who pitched masterfully against the Mariners on Thursday will look to continue his solid start next week. And Gonzalez, who won the fifth spot in Oakland’s rotation, will look to continue his own success in the coming days. Gonzalez should some command in his last outing against the Angels, which is something he usually has trouble with. He very well could be a sleeper pick for this season. Be sure to keep an eye on him.

Here are my week one MVPs:

Daric Barton 1B (.400/.536/.500, 7 RBIs, 7 BB) — Barton is off to a stellar start, and that’s definitely good news for the A’s. Barton, who came over in the Mulder-trade, hasn’t lived up to the hype that once surrounded him. However, his quick start could have the A’s on track for success.

Rajai Davis OF (.313/.333/.438, 1 HR, 3 RBIs) — Davis is also off to a hot start, and that’s good news for the A’s offense. I expect Davis, barring injury, to have anywhere between 50-60 steals this year. Remember, Davis had 41 last year in only 125 games.

Cliff Pennington SS (.261/.370/.478, 1 HR, 5 RBIs) — Not my favorite player my any means, but Pennington is off to a great start. He played solid last year as the A’s starting shortstop after Orlando Cabrera was sent to the Twins. However, he wasn’t much offensively last season. Expect his numbers to dip, because he’s an average shortstop at best.

Brett Anderson SP (1-0, ERA: 0.00, 4 K’s, 0 BB) — Anderson is a big talent and should really develop into a fine young pitcher this season. Last year, Anderson won 11 games, I see him winning about 15 this year.

Dallas Braden SP (1-0, ERA: 2.77, 12 K’s, 2 BB) — Braden’s performance against the Mariners (10 K’s) was stellar, and his recent performance (win) against the Angels wasn’t too shabby, either. Braden should be a pitcher who finishes with 10 wins this year.