You know the drill, I sent off a handful of questions to Nico from Athletics Nation SB Nation's flagship blog and he was nice enough to send me back answers (in record time).
Nice start to the season for the A's, what's going right?
What has been going right is that the starting pitching, believed to
be a strength going into the season, has not disappointed -- the A's
led the league in team ERA through the first 20 games largely on the
backs of Ben Sheets, Dallas Braden, Justin Duchscherer, Brett
Anderson, and Gio Gonzalez.
Could we have a quick scouting report on the starting pitchers the
A's will use in this series?
Duchscherer (Thursday) paints both corners with a fastball that will
rarely top 86MPH, plus a cutter and curve he commands beautifully when
Either Trevor Cahill or Vin Mazzaro will be called up Friday to take
Anderson's spot, with Anderson going on the DL this week.
Gonzalez (Saturday) has a 93MPH fastball and a curve Torii Hunter
called "the best lefty curve in the game right now" -- however Gio's
control comes and goes so while the strikeout numbers are good the
walks can also be high. He's electric at times, but also erratic.
Sheets (Sunday) is getting his velocity back, but in his last start
he hung his curve consistently and got lit up; it's unclear whether he
can still thrive as a "two-pitch pitcher," but it should be noted that
he made the All-Star team 4 times with that repertoire so maybe he's
just still getting the rust off after missing the entire 2009 season..
I know very little about your manager Bob Geren, what are his
strengths and weaknesses?
Geren's strengths are that he's fairly relaxed, is always optimistic,
and he grew up with many of the A's young players. His weaknesses are
that he can be too laid back, he sometimes relies on veterans long
after they have proven to be unworthy, and he is not considered to be
anything special as an "in game tactician."
I'm a fan of Cliff Pennington, how is he doing?
Pennington is off to a terrific start, slugging in a way he never did
in the minors (his 3 HRs are second on the A's and he has been one of
the team's leading RBI men all season). Defensively, he has made some
truly excellent plays, while also committing a handful of errors on
more routine chances. Overall, he's been a bright spot in the early
Off topic, but any chance you guys will get a new ballpark in the
I doubt it. For all you constantly hear about Oakland, Fremont, and
San Jose making a new play at location x, each story always ends 1-2
years later without an actual ballpark being built.
Is there anything else us Jay fans should know about the Athletics?
The Oakland A's cannot, for the life of them, stay healthy. Can't do
it. This year, already on the Fallen Comrade list: Brett Anderson,
Daric Barton (currently trying to play with a broken middle finger on
his right hand), Travis Buck, Joey Devine, Mark Ellis, Kurt Suzuki, and
Michael Wuertz. Not exactly unimportant pieces, either.
Thanks Nico, I'd wish you luck but we need all the luck we can get for ourselves.