Like some kind of magnet, the first three weeks of the Oakland Athletics 2011 season has kept them bouncing around the .500 mark. The A’s came into their two game series with the Boston Red Sox at 8-8 and left the series at 9-9. Oakland remains a wildly inconsistent team on offense and it is keeping them from putting it all together. Their starting pitching is as good as anybody in the league, but they have such a small margin for error that an average night often will not be enough to get a win.
Gio Gonzalez struggled Wednesday afternoon, but the A’s were unable to take advantage of a variety of opportunities to help him out. Brett Anderson was dominant on Tuesday night, but until an eighth inning offensive burst it was pins and needles for the A’s. If they don’t get some consistent offense it seems like they’ll always be a step behind in the division.
A’s Pitcher of the Series: Brett Anderson – There’s no doubt that Anderson gets this award after his gem Tuesday night. Although he couldn’t finish off the complete game shutout, Anderson was absolutely dominant through seven innings. Even though he got into some trouble in the eighth inning, he was able to gut it out and get away unscathed. While the A’s are getting quality starting pitching across the board, Anderson has been consistently the best thus far.
A’s Hitter of the Series: Hideki Matsui – The A’s offense had a lot of bad moments in this series, but when things were going well, Hideki Matsui was able to get involved. He was 1 for 4 with two RBIs on Tuesday and 2 for 4 with a run scored on Wednesday. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but the A’s offense struggled enough that it was better than nothing. The A’s had several chances to make some noise on Wednesday, but they just could not get that timely hit. However, if Godzilla is starting to heat up it could be an excellent sign moving forward.
Upcoming Schedule: The A’s head on the road for a fairly important stretch of games, facing the Mariners four times followed by the Angels three times. Division races aren’t decided in April, but a strong showing on this road trip would go a long way towards giving the A’s the confidence to stick around the AL West playoff race in September. This first Mariners series will feature Tyson Ross making his first start of the season in place of Dallas Braden.
Thursday: A’s 5 – Red Sox 0
WP: Brett Anderson (1-0)
LP: John Lackey (1-2)
Friday: Red Sox 5 – A’s 3
WP: Clay Buchholz (1-2)
LP: Gio Gonzalez (2-1)
Sv: Jonathan Papelbon (3)