Saturday, April 10, 2010

A's, Giants Off to Strong Starts

The 2010 Major League Baseball season isn't quite a week old yet, but there is plenty to be excited about if your a Bay Area baseball fan. Both the Giants and the A's are off to tremendous starts as the Giants site atop the NL West and sport the best record in baseball at 4-0 and the A's are atop the AL West with a record of 4-1.

We've gotten into a bunch of Giants stuff over @ The Giants Baseball Blog so we're going to stick with mostly A's talk here but will sprinkle in a little Giants at the bottom of the post. There is plenty to talk about with the Green and Gold as they've gotten brilliant starting pitching and just enough offense through their first 5 ballgames. Daric Barton, Mark Ellis and Rajai Davis have stuck out on offense and really have carried the A's through the first week. Barton is leading the team with a .438 average and 7 RBI in just 17 at-bats. Ellis is hitting .400 with 6 runs scored and Davis is hitting .370 with a homer, 4 RBI and 6 runs scored as well. Young shortstop Cliff Pennington has been better than expected at the plate, as he's contributed one of the A's 3 total home runs, and is hitting .353. After that though, things drop off as most of the rest of the bunch isn't hitting so well. Kurt Suzuki's at .250 with a homer and 4 RBI, while Kevin Kouzmanoff and Eric Chavez are both below .250. It is only the first week of the season, so it's tough to really judge what the A's offense will do throughout the year, but it's pretty clear that they'll be getting strong pitching no matter what.

The A's starters have started off the year in impressive fashion. All five starters have had a start, and only Justin Duchsherer, who should be just fine once he gets going, failed to turn in a solid outing. Dallas Braden was perhaps the most impressive, going 7 strong vs. the Angels, allowing 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 10 batters. Brett Anderson was pretty stingy in his outing as well, throwing 6 innings of 3 hit, shutout baseball vs. Seattle. The most recent strong outing was Gio Gonzalez's performance on Friday night in Southern California, as the 24 year-old lefty went 6 innings, allowing 2 runs while striking out 6. The rotation turns back over Saturday night as Ben Sheets will try and improve upon his first outing as an Athletic and sets out for his first win of the season in Los Angeles. The Angels will counter with their ace, Jered Weaver, who beat the Twins on Opening Day. It should be a classic pitchers duel, and whatever team can get the lead first will probably win the game.

Speaking of strong pitching, over across the Bay, the Giants have gotten terrific starting pitching themselves, as well as solid relief work, as they've cruised to an undefeated 4-0 to start the year. Things looked a little iffy for them in the home opener Friday, but the Giants pulled off a come from behind victory to beat the Atlanta Braves. That win showed me that the Giants are going to be for real this year. Last season, I don't think they would have come back and won that game off a closer like Billy Wagner, but this year, they seem to have even more swagger and confidence. The lineup looks like it's sorting itself out, as Edgar Renteria has started off extremely hot to stabilize the top of the order, and John Bowker has established himself in right field and has had a few big hits at the bottom of the lineup. The Giants are doing this without their perennial all-star second basemen Freddy Sanchez too. I can't help but think of what this team will be capable of once they get him back and increase their depth even further.

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