The Athletics kicked off a new era with a bang.
After a 10-day, three-city road trip to begin the 2022 season, Oakland returned home with a respectable 5-5 record after going toe-to-toe with three championship-caliber teams. On Monday night at the Oakland Coliseum, they faced off against the lowly Baltimore Orioles.
The A's home opener wasn't a sell-out, nor does it need to be. First-year manager Mark Kotsay stressed the importance of "The A's Way" prior to the game, which coincidentally, was exactly how Oakland played on Monday night.
Here are three takeaways from the A's 5-1 win over the Orioles.
The ace of the staff was exactly that against the Orioles. After being roughed up by the Philadelphia Phillies on Opening Day, Montas bounced back against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 13 and carried that momentum into Monday night's outing.
Montas has allowed just one run in back-to-back starts, recording a win and finishing with a final line of 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks against Baltimore.
With trade rumors continuing to swirl, Montas is pitching as if they don't exist. He was a bonafide ace throughout much of the second half of the 2021 season and rose to the occasion, providing the rotation with a boost after former starter Chris Bassitt missed time after taking a comebacker to the face.
The difference between last season and this season is that Montas is Oakland's only ace. Bassitt was traded to the New York Mets. Sean Manaea was traded to the San Diego Padres. This is Frankie's rotation and so far he's leaving his mark.
Pache already a fan-favorite
During pregame introductions and every at-bat that followed, one of the newest A's received the loudest ovation of any player not named Frankie Montas. Acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the Matt Olson trade, Cristian Pache is a passionate player with an abundance of energy who should feel at home in Oakland.
Prior to Monday night's home opener, Pache had already hit a little league-style home run against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 14 before launching a ninth-inning go-ahead home run against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.
Not to mention the multiple highlight-reel catches he made in center field during spring training.
On Monday night against the Orioles, Pache went 1-for-3 with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth.
Pache's swagger and love for the game appear to be well-received by A's fans, many of whom are searching for a new favorite player.
Neuse making Noise
The puns write themselves here.
Sheldon Neuse, claimed off waivers by the A's on March 16, is quickly making a name for himself here in Oakland. The former Athletics prospect was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February of 2021 returning almost a calendar year later.
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As a prospect, his offensive potential was exciting. Highlighted by his 2019 season with the A's Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas, Neuse hit .317/.389/.550 with 27 home runs and 102 RBI.
In 11 games this season, Neuse is hitting .320 with a home run and six RBI in 25 at-bats. He also can play all over the field, recording starts at second base, third base, left field and right field with the Dodgers last season.
On Monday night he was 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth. Certainly, somebody to keep an eye on. Oh, and he has a fun name.