Let’s get one thing straight. No series in April, no matter what the circumstances, can ever be called huge. There’s just too many games left to play, and too many variables yet to be determined that can change the dynamic of a season.
That said, the A’s first series of the season against the Angels is not a small one, either, and ditto, the Giants’ first glimpse at the Dodgers.
The A’s open a four-game series vs. the Halos tonight, and if they’re not careful, they could be staring at a decent-sized hole right out of the gate. The Angels looked terrific in sweeping the Texas Rangers and wins in three of four this weekend at Angel Stadium would put the A’s four games behind the eight-ball before they’ve even blinked. Not that four games is insurmountable, but it would no doubt start all of the annual questions about a slow start.
The A’s aren’t in real good shape going in, either. Chad Gaudin, never real impressive as a starter during his Toronto days, is the first-game starter, and he’s followed by Joe Kennedy, whose spring needs no recap. Make no mistake, the A’s rotation is shaky at this point. The Angels rotation is, too, but they’re going to get Bartolo Colon and Jered Weaver back soon. Once that happens, look out. Thus, it behooves the A’s to stay as close as they can early in the season.
The Giants still have one game left vs. the Padres, but most of the concerns surrounding this team have come to fruition in the first two games. Save for Barry Bonds, they really haven’t hit, and the bullpen hasn’t covered itself in glory. They get the Dodgers this weekend, and more than just bragging rights in the rivalry is at stake. Los Angeles was the chic pick in the National League this year, and it’ll be an early chance for the Giants to show how they stack up. Plus, Barry Zito gets to dip his toe into the rivalry for the first time, and show Giants fans that, yes, he can last longer than five innings in high-stakes contests.
Should make for some interesting viewing.