I think it’s fair to say that all of us A’s fans would have gladly taken a 5-5 win-loss record from our season-opening road trip if offered at the start.
Playing away to the Phillies, Rays and Blue Jays was a tough stretch for any team to start a season with, let alone a much-changed team skippered by a rookie MLB manager. There were times when the talent gap between the current A’s group and their opponents was obvious, yet equally there were so many encouraging signs in the way that Mark Kotsay’s team stuck to the task and stayed in games even if they ended up on the losing side.
Sunday’s loss to the Blue Jays was a good case in point. A’s starter Adam Oller struggled again but limited the damage to only three runs to at least give us a chance to get back into the game. That’s exactly what we did and we made a very talented Blue Jays team have to work very hard for their 4-3 victory. A loss is a loss, I know, but the way you lose a game does show you something when you’re right at the start of a development season or two.
For more on that Blue Jays series, don’t forget to check out our series review video on the YouTube channel:
The positive road trip makes the opening home-stand all the more interesting as it creates a new level of expectation that perhaps wasn’t thought to be on the cards when the team set off to Philadelphia 11 days ago.
Baltimore (H) – 4-game series
The Orioles have plumbed the depths of the AL East in each of the past five seasons and have reached the point in their big rebuild that fans expect to see some tangible improvement in the win-loss column.
They lost 110 games in 2021 and so improving on that significantly should be possible, yet the baseball gods don’t appear to be on their side. They were dealt a hammer blow yesterday in having to place John Means, their top starting pitcher, on the 60-day Injured List. Unfortunately the signs are pointing towards him needing Tommy John elbow surgery.
Today would have been Means’ turn in the starting rotation, so it looks like Spenser Watkins will start the opener instead and we’ll see if their rotation plans stay on course or get rejigged. Here’s how it looks currently:
Game 1: Frankie Montas – Spenser Watkins
Game 2: Cole Irvin – Alexander Wells
Game 3: Daulton Jefferies – Jordan Lyles
Game 4: Paul Blackburn – Tyler Wells
Thursday is a day-game, so a nice convenient evening start time for us in the UK and the added bonus is that it is going to be broadcast live on TV on BT Sport too.
Texas (H) – 3-game series
We then have a three-game series against the rebuilt Rangers who have had an underwhelming 2-7 start coming into this week. I call it underwhelming rather than anything stronger as even the best teams can go through a stretch like that over the course of a season; however, given the big investments they made over the off-season it’s not quite the start their fans were expecting.
The series will see fan favourite Marcus Semien coming back to the Coliseum in a Rangers uniform, although there are now so many ex-A’s in new uniforms that we’ll probably be able to say something along those lines in most series this season.
The probable pitching match-ups currently look like this:
Game 1: Adam Oller – Taylor Hearn
Game 2: Frankie Montas – Martín Pérez
Game 3: Cole Irvin – Jon Gray