In the span of 48 hours, the Oakland A’s had all eyes on them Sunday afternoon. The A’s are now arguably the hunted as the team to beat in the AL. Sunday, they trotted out their newly acquired hired gun in Jeff Samardzija against a fellow AL division leader in the Toronto Blue Jays. While the gold may be a bit different then what he is used to from his time at Notre Dame, Samardzija was simply dominant in his first ever AL start.
Against the Blue Jays, Samardzija continued to do what he has done all year with the Chicago Cubs by shutting down offenses with quality pitches. Only this time around, the right-hander had the league’s best offense behind him for run support. In his seven innings as a member of the Athletics, Samardzija allowed just one run on four hits and a walk with five strikeouts. The once league leader in ERA is now 1-0 in his new digs.
The game for Samardzija really came down to his bookend innings of work. In his very first inning, there was a moment where things could have unraveled and potentially sounded the boo-bird alarm on himself and the club. A poor debut inning may have put pressure immediately on the A’s with thoughts of second guessing the gutsy trade of just 48 hours ago. Samardzija was in trouble with two on and Jose Bautista stepping to the plate. “Shark” was able to force a double play from Joey Bats and escape the inning without any damage.
Samardzija’s final inning in the 7th was a statement that he has finally arrived in a playoff race. He proceeded to strike out the side to close out his first day in Oakland. Instead of the panic button being pressed, it was the go button that was smashed signifying that it is now “Go Time” in the AL pennant race. Oakland is ready, and so is their new ace addition who was dominant in start number one.
Nick Schaeflein is a Sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.