The Oakland Athletics are making an early-season statement in 2014. On Thursday, Oakland won their fourth consecutive game sweeping the Minnesota Twins to remain atop the AL West standings. It was the ninth consecutive win for the A’s over the Twins.
Pitching has been the A’s trademark to date, boasting one of the best starting rotations in baseball. In fact, the Athletics have the best team ERA in the AL and only trail the Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves in all of baseball with an exceptional 2.45 ERA. Dan Straily continued the A’s standard by pitching seven innings, striking out five and allowing just one run, a solo home run to Twins’ Brian Dozier in the first inning.
As good as the pitching has been for Oakland, the signature stamp placed on the series with Minnesota had to be offense. In three games, the Athletics scored 21 runs including 16 runs against Twins starters all without the assistance of their lead off hitter Coco Crisp.
Catcher Derek Norris hit two long balls in the series, including a three-run shot that gave Oakland the win in Wednesday’s games. On Thursday, Josh Donaldson and Sam Fuld provided the fireworks with home runs of their own.
The season is early, so expectations remain tempered. However, the idea of a team that boasts an ERA south of 2.50 complemented by an explosive offense has to be creating some concern within the AL West. And it’s not just their effectiveness from the mound or the plate in Oakland; these A’s have a confidence. They are an unorthodox crew, but that seems to be the way the city of Oakland and GM Billy Beane prefer it.
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