Staked to a 3-0 lead, Justin Duchscherer got rocked for 9 hits and 11 runs (8 ER) in 3+ innings. Of course it didn't help that the bunted 3 consecutive times to start the 4th only to load the bases with none out thanks to errors by Barton and Suzuki.
Oakland put up "3-spots" in innings 1, 2, 4, and 6, highlighted by a Kouzmanoff HR and three-hit games from Mark Ellis and Cliff Pennington. However, the Royals countered with consecutive "5-spots" in the 3rd and 4th, then broke a 12-12 tie on a Kila Ka'aihue HR (off Anthony Capra) and later a safety squeeze. Bunt much, KC?
Yet by the day's end, I only felt better about the A's chances in the AL West.
The Rangers, after sending down Derek Holland and Brandon McCarthy, announced their starting rotation and it's Scott Feldman, Rich Harden, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, and Matt Harrison. The Mariners, who have pinned most of their hopes on two arms, have lost one of them, Cliff Lee, for April. The Angels, who unlike the Mariners, have several "middle of the rotation" starters instead of "aces and scrubs," nonetheless have two of those guys hurting in Scott Kazmir and Ervin Santana.
So yes, Sheets and Duchscherer have pitched kind of poorly, and Braden's "have feeling in the toe / don't have feeling in the toe" ratio is only 4:1, but so far the A's appear to have not 5 but 6 good options ready to go for Opening Day and that makes them currently unique in the division.