By Jason Wojciechowski on April 6, 2004 at 9:00 AM
That's Oakland's winning percentage, the best it's been since after the second game of 2003. The A's lost the third game last year in extra innings to Seattle, so they'll have to sweep Texas to get off to a better start this year.
Chris Hammond had spoiled his first appearance with Oakland by giving up a two-run home run to Mark Teixeira in the seventh. Chad Bradford was strong as usual, though, pitching a scoreless eighth for the win, and Arthur Rhodes got his first save in an A's uniform. Rhodes wasn't quite as impressive as Keith Foulke often was last year, as he threw 16 pitches and gave up a hit before nailing Texas down, but a win is a win.
There's not a lot to be analytical about, but there's plenty to be a fan about: Jermaine Dye had a single, a double, and a walk, showing that maybe he's really back from injury this time, and ready to contribute in his walk year; Bobby Kielty had a single and a double batting in the #2 hole; Eric Karros didn't embarass himself, even managing a hit against Jeff Nelson, a right-handed pitcher notorious for throwing a frisbee slider that's really tough on right-handed hitters; and Marco Scutaro had a hit and a walk in the nine hole.
What I'm most excited about for this year is the A's outfield. It's not the Reds' outfield or anything, but there are five quality players there: Kielty, Dye, Byrnes, Mark Kotsay (0-5 today, but a guy who has put up ~350 OBP the last four years), and Billy McMillon, who I really like as an on-base threat off the bench. The best thing I can say about the group is that McMillon is clearly the worst of the bunch; last year, with Dye gimpy, Terrence Long and Chris Singleton just plain bad, and various others (Jose Guillen, Adam Piatt, Ron Gant) hurt, ineffective, or just old, McMillon was the guy I wanted to see out there every day in left, with Eric Byrnes in right (astounding streakiness aside).
I'm going to do something with the New A's vs. the Old A's in this space: Bobby Crosby vs. Miguel Tejada, Damian Miller vs. Ramon Hernandez, and so on. This won't work for all the new A's, because, for example, Marco Scutaro has replaced Mark Ellis for injury purposes, so there's no second baseman to compare him against.
I'll try to update these every day: