The A’s try to stomp out of the AL West


(Gerardo Recinos/The Inquirer)

On one side of the Bay Area, people can’t stop talking about the World Series. It is still a talking point even four months after all the confetti had fallen.

Except in Oakland.

The Athletics finished last season with an 81-81 record, which may not look too gaudy; but considering their abysmal hitting numbers, it should be deemed a success.

The A’s starting pitching staff is by far the best in the American League, and the best in the Bay Area, despite popular opinion.

With Trevor Cahill as the ace of the staff, the A’s have plenty of young talent. Cahill deserved the Cy Young Award last season in my opinion over Felix Hernandez, especially with Felix only having 13 wins. Sure the Mariners didn’t have great hitting, causing Felix to lose some close games, but neither did Cahill.

As the number three starter, Dallas Braden is severely overrated. While the story of his perfect game was a great Sports Illustrated cover story, Braden may be a one-trick pony, and it doesn’t make him any better than any of the A’s other pitchers.

He should be slotted as the number four guy, but he will probably get a higher place.

My dark horse pick is Gio Gonzalez, who finished the end of last season on a hot streak. I think he will be at least a 15 game winner this year.

Gonzalez has a great curve ball that he can spot in almost any count; he needs to work on control, but the curve ball is notoriously hard to master.

As far as the hitting goes, Hideki Matsui shouldn’t make too much of a difference in the lineup because he isn’t that much of a power threat anymore. Coco Crisp and David DeJesus are the true threats.

DeJesus has never played on a team this good. Coco will need to be a catalyst at the top of the lineup so the A’s can scratch across some runs.

It’s no secret the A’s strength lies with their pitching, so looking at their hitting isn’t wise.

Despite an omnipotent lineup, the A’s should have enough to win 88 games, a seven-game improvement on last season.

It should be enough to get them a playoff berth in the AL West, especially with a significantly weaker Texas Rangers pitching staff that will be missing Cliff Lee.