A’s go 3-1 in first series, start season off hot
Oakland, California- The A’s have gotten off to a phenomenal start to the season, going 3-1 versus arguably the best position player in baseball, Mike Trout, and his team, the Los Angeles Angels. For a team that historically has a slow start to the season, the Athletics seemed to understand the importance of a solid start, especially in a season where each game is worth approximately 2.7 games.
Statistics from the series to note:
The Angels outhit the A’s in the series, 31-26 and either matched the A’s or outhit them in every game of the series
While it’s good to get wins and score runs, to allow a bottom-feeding team that only won 72 games in 2019 to outhit one of the top teams in baseball is concerning. If the Angels had a better pitching staff they might have been the ones to win the series. If they continue to get outhit by this many hits, it’s going to not only put immense pressure on the offense, but it’s going to be tougher to win games as those hits will eventually turn into runs. While the hit differential wasn’t a huge factor in the series, it could become a big factor as the A’s go up against teams like the Dodgers and Astros, who they will face later in the season.
Hits: On paper, the Angels should have won the series, as they outhit the A’s in two games and tied the A’s in hits in the other two games, for a total score of 31 hits to 26 hits. While the Angels have a loaded hitting lineup, it can be assumed that if the Angels had a better pitching roster they would have been the ones to take this series. Once again, against a bottom-feeding team, the Athletics pitching has to be cleaner, because if they continue to give up this many hits, it’s going to not only put immense pressure on the offense, but it’s going to be tougher to win games as those hits will eventually turn into runs.
Sean Manaea’s pitching struggles continue
Sean Manaea has struggled on the mound as of late, and hasn’t seemed to find that electric spark that he had as he closed the 2019 season. In the exhibition game against the San Francisco Giants, he gave up three runs and four hits against a relatively young Giants team just a week ago and then again gave up five hits and four runs to the Angels on Saturday. The A’s need Manaea to step up his competition if they want to go deep in the postseason, but for now, he appears to be a weak link to their team.
It was a great offensive series for the Athletics, as they had amazing production all throughout their lineup. The bullpen was also outstanding per usual; in 20.1 innings they only gave up one earned run. As of July 22, Baseball America has the Athletics at a 97 percent chance of going to the playoffs and a 10 percent chance of winning the World Series. With more emphasis on lights-out pitching, the A’s will dominate this season and may just find themselves in the Fall Classic this year.
The A’s will host Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and the Colorado Rockies for a brief midweek series before heading to Seattle to take on the Mariners.