Strong pitching and timely hitting have the A's in 1st place

Straight A's in Opening Series

The Seattle Mariners came into Oakland with most improved ball-club in the majors. They left with a 1-3 record and will now open up a series with the Texas Rangers before heading to Seattle to take on the A’s.

The Athletics on the other hand, played extremely well after a disappointing opener. The A’s won games two and three in walk-off fashion, and the A’s offense as a whole did extremely well in games three and four. In fact, games three and four were actually very exciting to watch. Albeit game four was a bit of a nail bitter towards the end. But for the most part the A’s pitching staff did a solid job in containing the Mariners and the bullpen was pretty good as well.

As a realistic fan, I know that I shouldn’t base or invest too much into this opening series, because it’s just the beginning of a very long season. The A’s played well, but there are certain things that they still need to work on. The A’s this season should be a very strong defensive team, and from what I’ve seen in these first four games, a pretty good pitching team. Game two starter Dallas Braden was impressive, and game four starter, Brett Anderson was masterful in his six-inning performance. I expect a lot of good things out of Anderson this year.

Impressive on the offensive side of things were the following: Daric Barton (.333, 5 RBIs),  Rajai Davis (.316, 1 HR, 2 RBIs), Mark Ellis (.438, 1 RBI),  Kurt Suzuki (.267, 1 HR, 3 RBIs), and Cliff Pennington (.437, 2 RBIs). Barton, who will have to continue to prove that he belongs up in the majors, played well this series against the Mariners. Barton who was also a big part of the Mark Mulder trade in 2004, has some power and a lot of patience. He walked five times this series. Davis, who stole 41 bases last season, already has two in the first four games of the season. At the very least, Davis should reach the 41 he had last year. Suzuki, who drove in 88 runs last year and hit 15 homers, drove in three and hit a homer in the opening series. Pennington, who played solid last season, drove in two runs while hitting ninth in Geren’s lineup. Pennington looks like he’ll be a solid defensive shortstop this year for the A’s.

When the A’s head off to face the Angels down in Anaheim this weekend, they will look for their pitching to continue it’s solid performance. Gio Gonzalez, the A’s fifth-starter, will take the mound on Friday. Ben Sheets, the A’s Opening Night starter, will go on Saturday and Dallas Braden will pitch in Sunday’s matinee. Hopefully, Sheets will have better command of his stuff and will last longer than just five innings.

In general, the A’s played well in their first series of 2010. I was impressed mostly by Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson, but the offense really surprised me in the last two games. The A’s offense doesn’t look as bad as I had envisioned them to look, but then again, the season just started. But seriously, I don’t think many A’s fans are complaining about the 3-1 start. I know I’m not.

Tags: Ben Sheets Brett Anderson Cliff Pennington Dallas Braden Daric Barton Gio Gonzalez Kurt Suzuki MLB Oakland Athletics Rajai Davis Seattle Mariners

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