It's Opening Day, And That's No Joke

Jesus Montero does his best impersonation of a fire hydrant. - USA TODAY Sports

First of all, beware of any weird news you hear today, April 1st. If someone suggests that Yoenis Cespedes has moved back to Cuba, or that Ken Korach has had gender reassignment surgery, remember the date and realize there's only a 50/50 chance that it's true.

To me, today's game is practically a "freebie". If the A's win, it's fantastic and means they are 1-0 with 3 non-Felixy games vs. Seattle followed by 3 against current AL West leading Houston. But if they lose? What else is new? The A's always lose on Opening Day, as in "every year since 2004". This includes 2006 and 2012, both of which turned out quite nicely.

Heck, Oakland is already ahead of last year when Eric Sogard started at 3B, Brandon Allen started at 1B, and Andrew Carignan pitched, and took the loss, in the 11th inning of a tie game. I'll take my chances hitting the ground running with Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss from the git-go.

Honestly, I think the A's may go as far as the infield corners take them. Not to say that Donaldson and Moss are the two most important players on the roster, but they may be the most volatile in terms of "ceiling and floor". In a way, they are a great barometer for the A's overall because it's hard to see the A's not being highly competitive if Donaldson and Moss are good again in 2013, just as it's not difficult to see how things could unravel if it's "pumpkins at the corners..."

In other words, we have a pretty good idea that Cespedes and Parker will be very good and that Sogard and Resop aren't going to carry the team. It's as Donaldson and Moss go that the A's fortunes could swing to land on the plus or minus side overall.

I don't know how good the A's will ultimately be, but I do know this: I'm not convinced that the Angels or Rangers are as good as pundits believe. The Angels' starting pitching seriously lacks depth, and even entirely healthy it does not scare me overall. Nor does their lineup beyond the "big 3": Trout, Hamilton, and Pujols, a legitimate threesome to be sure.

Meanwhile, the Rangers looked flat last night, like they were picking up where they left off in September, only sans Hamilton, Napoli, and Young. Their lineup is still good, but I wouldn't say that it's great.Their starting pitching is similarly good but not great, with Derek Holland being so inconsistent, Alexi Ogando a question mark at this point and again, not a lot of depth amongst those with any big league experience.

The A's certainly have their fair share of question marks too, from the young starting pitching to the middle infield. What they have to counteract failure or injury is a lot of "2 to make 1" plans B: Young for the outfield, Straily for the #5 spot, Nakajima for the infield, and so on.

In my annual attempt to make predictions that will look utterly foolish in 6 months, I projected the Rangers at 87 wins and the Angels at 86. I'm just not convinced that either Texas or LAA is that good. So enjoy Opening Night, remember that today is but a "bonus game" we're not supposed to win anyway and never do, remember that it's a long season in which depth, where the A's have the market cornered, is king, and remember to pre-heat the oven to 350 -- because pretty soon methinks we're gonna need a lot of pie!

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