The first place Oakland Athletics have been one of the most consistent teams in baseball over the first month of the season. With an 18-10 record, they lead the Texas Rangers by three games in the American League West. The A’s have always been a team that picks each other up with dominant pitching and a different star from night to night. This season has been no different.
Their 136 runs scored are the fourth most in baseball. While their .256 team batting average ranks among the middle of the league, with runners on that average jumps to .285, ranking fourth in all of baseball – a great stat to have considering the fact that they rank second in the Majors with a .348 on base percentage. That’s Oakland Athletics baseball for you.
Their pitching has been stellar once again, ranking among the top of the league in most categories. Their 2.85 team ERA ranks third in the bigs and their .224 batting average against fourth. Whether it has been the starting rotation or the bullpen, they have dominated thus far and that is why they are atop of the division looking down.
However, they still must deal with their closer issue. At what point will they fully regain trust in Jim Johnson? He has been back in the mix, but will he step up his game to become their go to guy? The Athletics sure hope so, as they are paying him $10 million a year.
Other than their closer issues, the A’s should be very happy with their opening month of the season. They mightily rebounded from last week’s mini-slump to sweep the Rangers in dominant fashion this week and handily regain sole possession of first place. And after a quick East Coast weekend series in Boston, they kick off nice 10 game home stand.
Top Pitcher for April
This goes to Scott Kazmir, narrowly edging out the youngster Sonny Gray because of his ability to come back from a majority of injuries in a new situation. With the losses of aces Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin as well as the free-agent departure of Bartolo Colon, the Athletics desperately needed the Kazmir signing to pay off – and it has. His four wins tie him for the most in American League and his 2.11 ERA ranks fourth. But what has also been so impressive about Kazmir is his seven walks allowed. That is the 10th fewest walks among American League starters who have thrown at least 20 innings. Kazmir has thrown 38.1, that is also 10th.
Top Player for April
After getting off to a semi-slow start, there were questions surrounding Josh Donaldson and whether or not he was going to be able to follow up last season’s performance. Those questions have surely been answered and put to rest. His .279 batting average ranks second among the team while his seven home runs and 23 RBI’s are first among the Athletics and sixth in the league. With 65 total bases, that ties him at fourth in the Majors. But beyond his offense, Donaldson has also played solid defense. He ranks first among American League third basemen in defensive wins above replacement.
Commentary by Rich Peters
Guardian Liberty Voice Writer for the Oakland Athletics