With a revamped offense and a solidified bullpen, the Oakland A’s are hoping that they can unseat the Texas Rangers in the American League West as division champs this year.
Losing their opening series against a Mariners club that is coming off 101 losses in 2010, however, is not a great way to begin the season.
Oakland committed 7 errors in the first three games of the season, and that will undoubtedly cause problems for the A’s if their poor defense ensues. Remember, this is a team that is supposed to be built around its strong starting pitching and solid defense.
The A’s did get solid performances out of starters Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez, however. Starting pitching figures to be the A’s biggest strength this year, and guys like Anderson and Gonzalez are a big reason why the team is confident about their chances this season.
Anderson allowed one run on five hits, while striking out five in his first start against the Mariners on Saturday night. On Sunday, Gonzalez struck out four in seven innings of work en route to his first win of the season. All in all, both Anderson and Gonzalez pitched well in the season debuts.
Opening Night starter Trevor Cahill, however, was not assharp. With an error-prone defense behind him, Cahill lasted just 4.2 innings, allowing one earned run while striking out 8. He did, however, walk four batters as well. He needed a lot of pitches to get through those 4.2 innings of work, 105 to be exact.
Defensively, the A’s as a team were very disappointing to watch. All I can say is that the defense and the bullpen in the first two games were not what A’s fans had pictured leading up to this season. Game three of the series was a better demonstration of this team’s potential.
Offensively, the A’s did not wake up until game three. The team scored just four runs in the first two game combined, but on Sunday, the team erupted for 7 runs.
New designated-hitter Hideki Matsui recorded his 2,500th career hit on Sunday, and went 2-for-11 in the series. New LF Josh Willingham, meanwhile, had himself a nice opening series going 3-for-11 (.273 average) with one homer and three RBIs. David DeJesus, however, went 1-for-12 during the series.
Coco Crisp, who played in just 75 games last year, is Oakland’s hottest hitter so far. He went 5-for-12 this series, stealing one base and knocking in one run in the process. If Oakland is going anywhere this year, they’ll definitely need Crisp to stay healthy.
Overall, the opening series was filled with way too many errors on the A’s part, and was a bit of a disappointment. Sunday’s game was an exception, as the team as a whole played to their potential. The A’s will need strong pitching and defense if they’re to catch Texas, who swept Boston to start the season 3-0.