Oakland A's Playing Grade-A Ball after First 20 Games

Ben BurgContributor IApril 22, 2008

The Oakland Athletics may have started out with low expectations from fans and the media, but so far this season they have been anything but a disappointment.

When Billy Bean dumped many of the familiar scrappy A’s players from the lineup, fans were hesitant to back the savvy general manager. 

It was sad to see Nick Swisher (who would have made a solid career player) and Marco Scutaro (one of the best all-around defensive players the A’s have had) sent away to other teams.

But good, old Bean seemed to know what he was doing.  Oakland has only lost one series since playing Boston at the beginning of April, including two three-game sweeps of the Royals and the Blue Jays.

Ryan Sweeney was a good pick up from the White Sox.  So far this season, he is batting a solid .318, and even Emil Brown was a respectable addition with 14 RBI and an almost .300 average.

The Athletics' pitching staff has been putting up great numbers, especially in the mid-relief where they have struggled over the last few seasons.

Seven Oakland pitchers, who have had at least three appearances or more, have an ERA of 3.00 or less.  Mid-relief pitchers Joe Devine, Santiago Casilla and Andrew Brown have not given up a single earned run so far this season in 29 combined innings pitched.

Though Rich Harden is on the far too familiar DL at the moment, he has produced two tremendous starts and given up only one total run.  Hopefully, he can find an injury-free and a consistent rhythm to help his team keep up their current pitching prowess.

With a 12-8 record and tied for first with the rival Angels, the A’s will be able to prove their surprise start is no fluke against the tough halos when they travel down to Anaheim at the end of the month.