After their first 40 games, the Oakland A's are 20-20 in the 2013 season.
Remember 2012? The A's started 20-20 as well. In 2006, The A's—led by Frank Thomas—rode a five-game winning streak to get to 21-19 after 40 games.
Historically, the A's have tended to be a slow-starting team. Under manager Bob Geren, the club never started better than 23-17 through 40 games (2008) and started as slowly as 15-25 (2009) while opening 20-20 three times.
Go back to the Moneyball era when the A's opened 21-19 (2000), 18-22 (2001) and 19-21 (2002) after 40 games. Oakland went on to win 91, 102, and 103 games those three seasons, respectively.
Which player must improve the most for the A's going forward?
In many ways, the 12-4 start that the Athletics have raced out to this season was a bit of fool's gold. Eleven of those 12 wins came at the expense of AL West foes Seattle, Los Angeles (Angels) and Houston. Those teams sit a combined 31 games under .500 heading into Tuesday, May 14.
Once the torrid starts by guys like Jed Lowrie and Seth Smith died down, so did the early offense. Add to those laws of averages the injuries to Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, Brett Anderson and Jarrod Parker as reality dragged the A's back down to earth.
The only thing is that this is still a very talented team. WIth a quarter of the season gone, the projected Oakland lineup has played less than 15 total games together. Even if the A's don't duplicate their wins from 2012, there is no way that Anderson and Parker continue to post ERA's of 6.21 and 6.86, respectively.
It is still a marathon in the game of baseball and right now, the A's have run roughly 6.5 of the 26.2-mile 2013 race. They're just getting warmed up.
Relax and hope that players like Daric Barton can hold the fort down when called upon until all of the gang gets back. When they do, the A's will take off like they traditionally do when the talent takes the field in Oakland.