Entering the second week of the Major League Baseball season, the Oakland Athletics find themselves in a comfortable spot.
Sitting atop the American League West, the A's continue their road trip against the formidable Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This marks another early-season test for the Athletics: how will they fare against a team who many believe to be the prohibitive division favorites.
Particularly after an offseason spending spree that saw the Angels land the heaviest of free agent bats for the second year in a row.
But Oakland will look to prove for the umpteenth time that its frugal version of team building brings better results than their free-spending foes. After the A's snatched the 2012 AL West title, bypassing both the vaunted Angels and Texas Rangers squads, the question this season resurfaces: Can the A's do it again?
The odds suggest that lightning cannot strike twice in the same spot so quickly.
And the Angels aim to show that last season's disappointing underachievement was merely a product of unfamiliarity with one another.
This season, however, the Angels have 2012 Rookie of the Year Mike Trout, acclimated Albert Pujols and the talented slugger Josh Hamilton. Hopefully, the Angels will be able to put their pieces together and reach expectations.
Which is not simply the playoffs.
The Angels have assembled the offensive equivalent to the Miami Heat's Big Three not to just win the division but to take home the World Series trophy.
And they have a lot to prove, too.
That said, this week's series versus the Athletics will be an equal test for Los Angeles as it will be for Oakland. And with the recent battles and bad blood between these two ball clubs, it makes for some early April fireworks.
Here are five things to look for in this week's Athletics-Angels series in Anaheim that starts Tuesday night.