A rest day gives the A's time to collect themselves before a showdown with the champions.
I knew I shouldn't violate the one rule of baseball players everywhere: don't mess with superstition. Yet, I went ahead and labeled the A's rotation as possibly being the best in the majors because they hadn't suffered a loss yet this season.
Now, we're looking back at a miserable day by Brett Anderson and a landslide loss to the Orioles. But, there are some positives.
First, the A's did take three of four from the Orioles, pushing their record to 9-5. Which, happens to be good enough for a 2.5 game lead in the West. Who would have guessed?
But, the A's must regroup quickly or else the defending champions will come into town and put them in their place. The Yankees are 9-3 and are tied for first in the East. This is the same team as last years championship team, except they added Curtis Granderson.
The A's must do two things if they want to take the series:
1. Pitchers need to find the zone.
- This starts on Tuesday with Gio Gonzalez. Slightly ironic that the man in the rotation who has the most difficulties with his location is taking the mound first. But, the Yankee hitters are far too good to get behind in the count against. Gio must get ahead so he is throwing his pitches, not ones the hitters will be looking for.
2. Hitters need to continue to be patient at the plate.
- I'll admit, it's much more fun to watch a team hit the ball around the park. But, the A's need to return to being patient at the plate if they want to be successful against the Yankees. In the first game, they face Javier Vasquez, who has been absolutely terrible in his first two starts. He is 0-2 with an era over nine. Hitters need to realize he will be pressured to have a successful start. That means he will try to be fancy and get hitters to swing at his pitches or he will come right after hitters. If it's an early fastball, go after it. If it's anything else, run the pitch count up. The same goes for Phil Hughes. Wednesday's starter for the Yankees has had control issues thus far, and patient hitters means a quick outing for Hughes.
As always, it won't hurt to keep receiving defense defense defense.
Let's go A's!