Time for an early test

Repeat after me — “It’s still early,” — before you call the A’s upcoming series at Anaheim a big one. But it does stand out as much as a late April series can, because we’re about to find out whether the A’s can hang with the AL West’s big dog.

Make no mistake, the Angels are the favorites in the division. Their starting pitching is so deep that they’ve hardly skipped a beat with ace John Lackey and fellow rotation mate Kelvim Escobar each on the disabled list. Torii Hunter has had a great first month, and Vlad Guerrero is still scary good.

That’s why I’m particulary interested in seeing what the A’s do in these four games. Winning a series in Seattle was big, and the way they did it was bigger. On Sunday, they overcame Felix Hernandez. On Friday, they won, because a great play by Bobby Crosby in the ninth negated the fact that they had only three hits. Such are games you don’t normally win, and when you start winning them, it gives off the hint that something special may be brewing.

What happens in Anaheim this week will reveal whether that brew is worth tasting.