The Oakland Athletics are off to a great start, and their starting pitchers have a lot to do with that. Oakland starters are currently 6-0, thanks to Dallas Braden’s solid performance last night against the struggling Baltimore Orioles. The A’s currently boast the MLB’s best ERA with 2.71, and tonight’s starter, Justin Duchscherer (1-0) will look to keep the A’s on the right track as the team staff looks to improve to 7-0. The A’s as a team will look to improve to 9-4 overall. Below is a closer look at the A’s starters and their performances so far this season:
Ben Sheets: 1-0, 2 Quality Starts, 17.0 IP, 8K/10BB, 2.65 ERA
Sheets hasn’t exactly been perfect in his three starts this year, but he did manage to notch his first win in his last start against the Orioles. The A’s $10 million man still has a bit of rust to shake off, but he should only get better as the season progresses. His next start will come on Wednesday, April 21 when the New York Yankees visit the Coliseum. Against a high powered offense like New York’s, Sheets will have to cut back on his walks.
Dallas Braden: 2-0, 3 Quality Starts, 20.0 IP, 16K/3BB, 2.70 ERA
Braden, who won eight games last year before getting shut down due to a foot-injury, is off to a great start. He collected his second win last night against the Orioles, and he’s been rather consistent so far this season for Oakland. His strikeouts are a bit misleading, as he’s never posted more than 81 K’s in a single season, but he’s still a solid starter for the most part. He’ll typically give you six or seven innings of work, which is what the A’s need from their starting pitching. If the A’s starting pitching can give six or seven innings of quality work, the bullpen should be able to close games out. Braden’s three quality starts are an indication of how well he’s performed thus far in the season. His next start will be Thursday, April 22 against the Yankees.
Justin Duchscherer: 1-0, 1 Quality Start, 13.0 IP, 8K/4BB, 3.46 ERA
Duchscherer collected his first win since the 2008 season, and will look for his second win today against the Orioles. A two-time All-Star, Duchscherer knows what it takes to win in this league, and he should have no problem this season collecting wins. If he’s healthy, he’s an ace. Despite having “average” stuff, Duchscherer makes the most of what he has and as a result pitches effectively. This season, the A’s would like nothing more than Duchscherer pitching an entire season pain free. His next start is today against the Orioles. He will look to improve the A’s starter’s record to 7-0.
Brett Anderson: 1-0, 2 Quality Starts, 12.0 IP, 10K/3BB, 0.00 ERA
Anderson is here to stay. Yesterday, the A’s announced that Anderson agreed to terms to a four-year deal that is worth $12.5 million. It also has two options, in which the A’s can choose to pick up in 2014 and 2015. Essentially, the deal buys out Anderson’s remaining arbitration years as well as his first year of free agency. The entire deal with options could be worth over $30 million. The deal also sends the message to fans that the A’s intend to lockup their young core of talent to ensure future success. Anderson is a young pitcher on the rise, and should be a dominant force in the league for years to come. So far this season, Anderson has not allowed a single run in his two starts both against the Seattle Mariners. Anderson, if healthy, will have a very nice career here in Oakland for the next four years. Next start is tomorrow on Sunday against the Orioles. He’ll look to improve to 2-0.
Gio Gonzalez: 1-0, 1 Quality Start, 10.2 IP, 11K/5BB, 3.38 ERA
Gio Gonzalez, who is pitched solid in his last start despite some personal issues, is off to a great start for Oakland. He’s currently 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA and could be a candidate for breakout player of the year. Once a highly regarded prospect, Gonzalez has struggled with his emotions throughout his short career, but looks a bit more mature this season. Gio’s success will be determined on whether or not he can retire batters on a consistent basis. So far, however, Gio’s emotions seem in-check and he seems ready for a solid season for the A’s. His next start comes Tuesday against the Yankees.