Series Preview: Oakland A’s, April 9-11 Reviewed by Momizat on . A lot of people were worried about the start of the season against the Angels who are expected to be one of the better teams in all of baseball. The Royals prov A lot of people were worried about the start of the season against the Angels who are expected to be one of the better teams in all of baseball. The Royals prov Rating:
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Series Preview: Oakland A’s, April 9-11

Series Preview: Oakland A’s, April 9-11

A lot of people were worried about the start of the season against the Angels who are expected to be one of the better teams in all of baseball. The Royals proved that we were worried for nothing, taking two of three from the Angels to start the year. For some reason I’m always concerned about heading to Oakland even when their teams aren’t especially good. My fears are somewhat unfounded as the Royals went 3-3 last year. So for whatever reason, I have a fear of Oakland. Maybe I’m having memories of Brian Bannister getting bashed around there a few years ago. The A’s made some moves this off-season, trading off two of their top starting pitchers and picking up a couple outfielders including Cuban stud Yoenis Cespedes who has started off well.

Record: 1-3

Standings: Last Place, American League West

Who’s Hot:

  • Yoenis Cespedes – .308/.400/1.077, 3 homers, 7 RBI (7 strikeouts, no walks, 2 HBP)
  • Josh Reddick – .333/.333/.600, 1 homer, 1 RBI
  • Brandon McCarthy – 2 starts, 0-1, 2.25 ERA, 12 innings, 6K, 2B
Who’s Not:
  • Kurt Suzuki – .118/.118/.235, 2 doubles
  • Really the rest of the offense
The Athletics were expected to struggle mightily on offense, and they haven’t disappointed those expectations through their first four games. It’s still early, and I can see signs that the A’s might go on stretches of five to ten games where they can put up six or seven runs per game, but it’s pretty obvious they’re going to struggle a lot of the time. The big story for the A’s in the early going is Yoenis Cespedes, who turned some heads with his 462 absolute bomb to dead center in Oakland the other day. There’s good and bad with Cespedes. If he plays in 150 games, I think there’s a strong chance he ends up striking out 200 times. He’ll probably also hit 30 homers in that time, but he’s got some series holes in his swing that can be exploited.
The A’s pitching used to be their trademark, and it will probably be their strength, but partly because their offense is just so bad. They traded away Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez and have lost Brett Anderson to the 60 day disabled list, so they have been forced to cobble together a rotation behind a couple of reclamation projects of sorts in Brandon McCarthy and Bartolo Colon. McCarthy has begun to make good on his considerable potential, but the A’s are going to have to rely on young pitching to take them where they want to go. Realistically, they won’t be going very far this season, but with Billy Beane at the helm, you never know what kind of direction they’ll head in next.
Monday marks the season debut for Luis Mendoza who will face lefty Tommy Milone. Milone made five starts last season for the Washington Nationals and went 1-0 with a 3.81 ERA. He struck out just 15 and walked just four. Control has been a big part of his game throughout his minor league career as well, with just 1.5 walks per nine innings in the minor leagues. He came over as part of the Gio Gonzalez deal and the A’s think he has a very big future. As someone with very good control, look for Royals batters to look to swing early in the count when Milone tries to establish his fastball. While he doesn’t throw hard, he does get hitters out. I think Royals bats will do well against him. Mendoza needs to avoid the few hot spots in the A’s lineup and use the big park to his advantage and he’ll be fine. I think this game is winnable for the Royals.
Danny Duffy faces Graham Godfrey in this tilt, which is another late game in Kansas City. Godfrey is another A’s pitcher who made his big league debut last season and had some success. He had a 3.96 ERA in five appearance (four starts) and like Milone struggled to strike batters out. Godfrey has a traditional array of pitches (fastball, changeup, curveball, slider) and throws all of them for strikes. I don’t think Godfrey will ever be anything special, but he’s the type of guy who will put up solid numbers in Oakland due to the spacious park behind him. The gameplan against Godfrey should be similar for the one against Milone, but Godfrey is much more likely to sneak a fastball by you. Duffy needs to continue to work on his command and if he pitches like he did in spring training, this could be a nice season debut for him.
Here’s the matinee to end the series before the Royals get their first off-day of the season on Thursday, and it will pit both teams’ opening day starters against each other, Bruce Chen vs. Brandon McCarthy. When McCarthy was a super prospect with the White Sox, he was thought to be a guy who could strike guys out and might walk some people. Injuries derailed his career, but he’s evolved into the thinking man’s pitcher and has become the A’s de facto ace. He’s a solid pitcher and I think this will be the toughest game of the series for the Royals. They do have a legitimate chance to take all three games, which would make for a great atmosphere on Friday as the Royals open things up at home.
Luis Mendoza career vs. A’s – 4.2 innings, 2 strikeouts, 2 walks, 5.79 ERA
Danny Duffy career vs. A’s – 12.1 innings, 6 strikeouts, 7 walks, 3.65 ERA
Bruce Chen career vs. A’s – 52.2 innings, 26 strikeouts, 25 walks, 4.61 ERA
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About The Author

I never had a chance. I was born into a family who loved baseball and the Royals, so I accordingly love baseball and the Royals. I just so happen to love to write also, which makes writing about the Royals for this site something that makes me happy each and every day. When I first started blogging, a fairly well known baseball writer told me to only do it until I'm unhappy doing it, but I don't see that coming any time soon.

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