It's been one week and the A's sit atop the AL West, alone. Unexpected contributions have helped, but it's started with the rotation.
It's been one week, or seven days, since Opening Day for the A's. The A's do not look one bit like the team the experts predicted.
Instead of looking overpowered at the plate and overworked in the bullpen, the A's look patient at the plate, and rested in the bullpen. Call it luck, or a farse, but these wins aren't a fluke. All five of the wins (along with two losses) have been legitimate. In some, the pitching has stood firm, while in others the hitters took matters into their own hands. Either way, the A's have got it done. It's started with the starting pitchers.
Starters: Shaky starts for Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer. Sheets recovered in the first game to pitch strong innings before his departure in the sixth. Duke also got stronger as the game evolved. Chalk it up to all the time spent off the field due to injuries; the stuff is there, but until a pitcher faces a hitter in a real game, he won't shake all the rust. In his second start, Sheets didn't throw a great game, but it was good enough to get the A's to the ninth. Even though they lost on a walk-off hit, their pitching kept them in the game. Dallas Braden meanwhile, has shown stuff that made him the A's Opening Day starter last year. He isn't an overpowering pitcher, but he has hit his spots, setting up hitters and inducing easy outs. Even without a heater, Braden got 10 strikeouts in his first start, showing his dominance. Gio Gonzalez, the fifth starter, proved capable of being in the rotation, with a solid first start, earning a win over the Angels in the first road game of the year. That brings us to Brett Anderson. With two former all-stars and an ex-Opening Day starter in the rotation, young Brett Anderson showed he might have the best stuff in the rotation (as I predicted, thank you very much). A dominating performance- six innings of three hit, shutout ball- in his first start led to raving reviews around both Oakland, and Seattle (the poor hitters he faced).
The starters have been impressive. The hitters and bullpen have been equally as impressive, if not more. We'll take a more in-depth look at them at a later date.
Until then...Go A's!