In losing 2 of the first 3 games of the season against Cleveland this series, there are some interesting things we should know. Here are a few that I noticed, lets start with some positives.
The A’s have an embarrassment of riches in outfielders. Sam Fuld made a big impression last night in a huge way. Fuld lead off the first inning with a triple and later added an RBI single. Fuld is most known for defensive abilities. In 366 career games, Fuld is a career .234 hitter with an OPS of .643. If he can chip in a little on offense, he may stick around Oakland a while longer. Yoenis Cespedes looks really comfortable hitting the ball to the opposite field, especially in RBI situations. Finally, Brandon Moss found a way to beat the shift. He drag bunted down the 3rd baseline in the bottom of the 3rd inning with one out.
To say the Starting Pitching looked really good this series is an understatement. Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir threw a combined 13.1 scoreless innings. Josh Lindblom was well on his way to achieving the same feat before giving up a 2-run home run to Mike Aviles in the top of the 4th inning on what looked to be a hanging slider. These are the only 2 runs allowed by Starting Pitchers in this series while these 3 combined for 15 strikeouts.
Now for the bad… Josh Reddick struggled this series. He went 1-11 with 4 strikeouts in this series and was 0-5 with runners in scoring position. He also made an error in right field in the 9th inning of the finale. He may have had a chance to throw out Kipnis if it was fielded cleanly. Daric Barton is another player that I am concerned with. He has started the year 1 for 7 and made a baserunning mistake that fans are still talking about. With Callaspo swinging the bat well from the left side of the plate and with the aforementioned Sam Fuld hitting well Barton may find himself fighting for playing time. With Craig Gentry coming back from the Disabled List soon, he may be the odd man out.
Ok, ok…. lets address the “elephant” in the room. Jim Johnson has definitely been disappointing, to say the least, in his first two outings of the season. He has given up more runs (5) than outs recorded (3). Keep in mind that Johnson did have 7 blown saves last year, including 3 consecutive blown saves. Of 74 appearances that Johnson had in 2013 only 25 of them had went without a hit or a walk given up by Johnson. This means in two-thirds of his appearances last season Johnson allowed at least one baserunner. Given Johnson’s salary, it is safe to say that he isn’t going anywhere. He will be the Athletics closer for at least another month. So it may be in the best interest of all Athletics fans to continue to support Jim Johnson as much as possible… no matter how bad he is!
It is not getting any easier next series. The Athletics will play Robinson Cano, Justin Smoak, King Felix and the Seattle Mariners in a four-game series in Oakland. Lets hope for better results this weekend!
Until next time A’s fans… Let’s Go Oakland! #LGO