I'm shocked at the turn around here in Athletics Nation. How did I become the pessimist of the bunch? I mean, heck, people are even calling me out for it in the DLD. Believe me when I say this, no one is happier that the Oakland Athletics have started as strong as they have, pounding on good teams like the Indians and Blue Jays.
So here I am to say, I don't expect this to last. For one thing, Dana Eveland is relatively new to the major leagues and brand new to the American League. Greg Smith is brand spanking new. Just like with hitters, advanced scouts will be watching these pitchers, planning a better approach for any future games. Young players like Buck, Barton and Suzuki will likely be prone to inconsistent play as the league learns how to pitch to them and they make adjustments back. And, as we've already seen, the A's have obviously done something to really tick off the Baseball Gods because they're losing not only players like Harden and Duchscherer to injury, which was to be expected, but they're also having guys like Ryan Sweeney go down when he was having a healthy offensive run. On top of that, the Angels still haven't had John Lackey for one single inning yet.
Don't get me wrong, I said at the beginning of the season that I expected these A's to be better than most of the "experts" predicted. I'm kind of surprised that they've played pretty damn good baseball so far just simply because I felt like their schedule out of the gate was extremely difficult. Boston, Toronto and Cleveland with a trip to Japan in there? Now they go face the team with the best record in the AL and former A's Nick Swisher and Jermaine Dye.
A couple of the things that have impressed me the most about this team is how well it has played defense and the game calling behind the dish.
The A's have turned the most double plays in baseball with 20 already. And maybe the stats aren't going to show it, but I think they've been really great in the field. I expected to see a bit of the bad news bears out there just because the A's have so much youth on the field and it hasn't really been that way so far. The middle infield has been stellar in Crosby and Ellis and defense up the middle is obviously key, but I've been pretty impressed with the A's all over the field.
I also mentioned this in a game thread, but Kurt Suzuki's game calling has been just stellar and a big reason why I think the A's staff has been so good this early. You can tell that the pitchers just trust whatever Zook throws down. I think he's come very far in a very short time frame.
Regardless, for the reasons I mentioned above, I don't expect the A's to continue to be so amazingly stellar. I really, really hope they continue along this path, but salb and company have taught me that I can't assume much from small sample sizes. I don't like being the wet blanket because that just isn't my nature, but I guess that's my role lately. Go ahead and dry me off.