After losing four games in a row, the A's fan base was starting to panic. It's April, it's just too early to get worked up over a string of losses. That being said, losing four in a row and getting swept for the first time since May 22 to June 1, 2012, was a reason to be concerned. Just not panicked.
After exercising their demons against the Red Sox in the form of a 13-0 drubbing of historical proportion, the A's are positioned to win a road series in Boston before heading home for seven games.
After all the questions being thrown around regarding the recent struggles of the offense, and the occasional ineffectiveness of the starting pitching, think of how different things might feel with a series win against a team with one of the best records in baseball.
Reasons to be optimistic:
-- Yoenis Cespedes is arguably the best player on the A's. He is on the disabled list. He is eligible to return Sunday. This season the A's are 8-2 with him in the starting lineup. Last season they were 82-46 with him starting. When he returns, the team is better.
-- Even after a four-game losing streak, the A's were still 12-8. In their magical 2012 season, the A's didn't get their 12th win until May 1.
-- The A's have still found ways to win without Cespedes, and without Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick in the lineup at times.
-- The A's two best starting pitchers haven't been at their best so far. Brett Anderson has a 5.95 ERA. Jarrod Parker is 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA. That will level out. Those two pitchers are too talented to pitch like that all year.
Reasons for concern:
-- Six of the A's 13 wins have come against the Houston Astros.
-- Bartolo Colon has been the A's most consistent pitcher and he turns 40 next month.
-- The A's have six quality starting pitchers with Dan Straily in Triple-A. If more than one starting pitcher goes down at a time, the options aren't fantastic after Straily.
-- Chris Young has really struggled. He is hitting .152 this season and is 1 for 19 against left-handed pitchers. He essentially took Jonny Gomes' spot on the roster and the A's will use Seth Smith predominately against righties.
Young seems to be having a tough time adjusting to a new league and a new role. He is used to being an everyday guy, and he currently isn't playing like one. When Cespedes comes off the disabled list, Young won't be in the lineup as frequently if he keeps slumping. Young has established himself as a quality big leaguer, and it is still a relatively small sample size, but it is a reason for concern.
Are you optimistic or concerned?
Let us know what you think by weighing in below in the comments section.