Are 2015’s Oakland Athletics Better Than Last Year?


We all remember the story of last season. It was similar to the Titanic. We were on top of the world about halfway through the movie, er, season, and then by the end the boat sank and everyone died, uh, was traded. Coming in to 2015, there has been a lot of skepticism surrounding the Oakland Athletics, and for good reason. Trading so many key players had to have an effect on the team, right? Well, through five games, there certainly doesn’t appear to be.

Last season’s first five games resulted in the (then) commonplace opening day shutout, followed by the team scoring a combined 14 runs in the next four games. This season they’ve scored 32 runs in their first five, or more than double what they produced last year. If you carry the one, that means the A’s will have 176 wins by season’s end! Obviously this is an exaggeration, but with the offense clicking, and getting contributions from nearly everyone on the roster, is it so hard to believe that the Oakland Athletics have a shot at the division?

This team has been built around its pitching, and outside of Thursday’s 10-1 thrashing at the hands of the Texas Rangers, they’ve lived up to the bill. Last year the team gave up 13 earned runs in their first five games. This season, even with the ten run outburst by Texas they’ve only allowed 13 runs in total. Pitching three shutouts will do that.

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Not to get too far ahead of myself, but the 2015 team isn’t even healthy yet. Josh Reddick should return this weekend, while Coco Crisp‘s return is anybody’s guess. Sean Doolittle can take all of the time he needs, because there hasn’t been a save situation yet, and I’m guessing Tyler Clippard‘s arm is getting rusty waiting for some meaningful innings.

The Oakland Athletics have had a start from each member of their rotation, and in four of the five games the starter has gone at least six innings. Kendall Graveman struggled in his debut, but was lights out in the spring, so a rebound can be expected from the newly acquired righty.

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The team’s strength, their bullpen, has worked 13 2/3 innings this season. This is key with the Oakland Athletics playing ten consecutive days to start the season. Keeping the bullpen fresh will serve the team well as the season moves along. Clippard, Dan Otero and Eric O’Flaherty, arguably the team’s trio late in the game, have recorded an inning each through five games.

When he was making trades this offseason, A’s GM Billy Beane said that he wanted a team that will get better as the season goes along. Tyler Ladendorf and Mark Canha have stolen the spotlight in the early going, but Josh Phegley is 2-for-6 in limited action, Marcus Semien has driven in five and the new veterans are contributing as well.

While they are just 3-2 on the young season, there are plenty of reasons to be excited in Oakland.

Next: Kendall Graveman Doesn't Suck