And here they are:
- The offense is very likely to improve. I think it might not be what we'd hoped--that's why the team feels so bleak now; nothing is what we'd hoped--but I think it's certain to get better. Many of the hitters will get closer to career norms, and the A's could likely get a huge year out of either Swisher or Chavez.
- The injuries can't get worse can they? Let's hope not. Let's hope Bradley and Street and Harden and I guess even Duke get better sooner rather than later. It is frustrating the way you continually have false hope with A's injuries, though. Street is always coming back and never does. Bradley hurts a new body part every day. But my sense is that the pervasive gloom most all of us likely feel over this recent injury plague is not something that can possibly hold. With the exception of Thomas, every single player we had concerns over has already gone down (Crosby, Bradley, Harden). This won't be the case in July.
- The starting pitching just got better. Harden is a tremendous blow, I realize. He's pitched much better than his ERA. But eliminating Loiaza and a certain loss every five days is pretty significant. Furthermore, Haren's K/BB ratio suggests good things ahead, and there's reason to have faith in Zito simply because of his career. Blanton I'm not too sure about. And we do have depth for the other two spots. I'm not saying we're a frontline rotation; I'm saying it's likely we'll pitch collectively better than we have in the first 24 games.
- The bullpen is better than last year--if Street is healthyl. We have a better lefty and a better long man (Kennedy over Rincon; Sarloos over Yabu).
- Most important of all, the other teams in the division just aren't that good. Look at them. Nothing to fear. So if we can just struggle along, right ourselves a bit, get some guys going, and get healthy, we should win because we are the best team.
- Because it turns out that those projections of us winning this thing by 10 games were right. If the A's were healthy and if everybody was playing to his norm, we would run away with this thing. We're not healthy I know, and we're not even playing well and we're still in a dead heat. This bodes well.