Don't Worry -- The A's ALWAYS Lose On Opening Night

"Sonny Gray...sweeping some sliders down and away..." - Thearon W. Henderson

It's a rich tradition even in the best of years. 2006, 2012, 2013...well actually, every season since 2004 without fail (or should I say "without succeed"), the Oakland A's have lost on Opening Night. So losing game 1 of this 5-game season is hardly cause for anything but "Well yeah -- the A's always start off with a loss."

This season the A's went a robust 96-65 after their customary "lose the first one". (In fact for that matter, the 2013 A's were 96-64 in their last 160.) Last year they started with a loss but finished strong, winning 6 straight to catch and pass Texas. Remember the year Oakland made 5 errors on Opening Night and lost in embarrassing fashion, yet by the end of the season Bob Geren bought everyone ice-cream anyway? OK our standards are a bit higher now and we are no longer ordering 25 Participation Trophies every year.

The point being, starting off with a loss is kind of the A's way. Now they need to get down to business and I kind of like their chances in each of the next 3 games. I see Sonny Gray, with his plus stuff and with the Tigers never having seen him, being poised to come up big in game 2. Anibal Sanchez won the ERA crown but has established himself throughout his career as a "good pitcher," not a great one, while Jarrod Parker may really benefit from having 9 days between starts. Dan Straily against Doug Fister? If the A's are locked in by then, I'm perfectly optimistic.

And I would recommend that Oakland just go ahead and win the next 3, rather than needing to win game 5. Why? Not just because Max Scherzer showed how electric he can be but also because game 5 will fall on Justin Verlander's 5th day. That means that one of the Tigers' biggest weaknesses, their bullpen, will have Verlander available for, say, a 3 IP save. I don't see why anyone but Scherzer and Verlander would get the ball in a game 5.

But something prescient (or it may well just be gas) is telling me the A's might win this series in 4 games. If not, my next best guess is that they lose it in 5. I like the first one better, and now that Opening Night is out of the way it's time to take aim at a 3-game winning streak. It starts with Sonny Gray and a scoreless top of the first, and everything falls into place from there. That's my narrative and until it's proven wrong I'm running with it.

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