The Athletics went 1-2 against the Cleveland Indians to start the 2014 season. While this is not the start that many were hoping for, there are still 159 games to play, and plenty of reasons for optimism.
Let’s start with the bad. Ok, horrible. Jim Johnson has been lackluster on the mound, compiling an 0-2 record through 3 games. He has matched the amount of runs (5) he gave up in the first half of a season ago, in just 1 IP. The bright side: he can’t perform much worse. Let’s go out on a limb and say that his ERA will be lower than the 45.00 it sits at right now.
There are ways to get around Jim Johnson pitching in meaningful scenarios, such as having anyone else pitch. The bullpen is too strong to have one reliever be the scapegoat. If Johnson’s struggles continue, he will find himself in mop-up duty, while bringing in $10M this season. This club is all about platoons, no matter who the player is. Johnson will put it all together shortly though, fans.
There was plenty of promise shown from the Athletics in the Opening Series. Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir haven’t allowed a run to score in 13.1 IP. Josh Lindblom pitched well in a spot start, giving up 2 ER in 4.2 IP. The staff ERA still sits at a solid 3.00, which is heavily inflated by Johnson.
The offense was up to their old tricks, compiling 24 hits in 3 games, and scoring 10 runs. The run total could be much higher, but the Athletics let a few opportunities pass them by. Daric Barton had a base running mistake in game 1, but I’m not going to bash him for it. Barton is in the game for his defense, which is solid. Anything he contributes offensively is a bonus.
In other news, Derrick Norris gathered 3 singles in Wednesday’s opening game of the doubleheader. The story here is that all 3 hits were against right-handed pitchers. Last season, he hit just .149 against RHP. That’s 17 hits in 114 at-bats. Let me reiterate this: he already has 3 hits against RHP. 17 all of last season. This could be a breakout season for D-NO if he can hit at all against righties.
Seattle has put up 26 runs, and have allowed just 8 thus far. They are clicking. Justin Smoak is on fire. How often do you get to say that? Smoak is batting .462 with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs. Even Brad Miller is hitting .333 and has 2 HRs and 12 total bases. Is this a resurgent Mariner club, or a case of another slow start by the Angels?
We’ll find out this weekend.