The sheer satisfaction of baseball’s return might have overshadowed what actually transpired in the A's first three games of the 2020 MLB season.
While the A’s will go for their first series win Monday at the Coliseum, we already have some early observations about how the team is shaping up.
The A’s have yet to out-hit the Angels, but have still won two of three games
Outfielder Ramon Laureano has hit safely in all three games for the A's, but most of his teammates are on the opposite side of that success, so far.
It’s no surprise arms are generally ahead of bats here early in this jump-started MLB season, but consistent run production is something the A’s got away from last year down the stretch, when the games mattered most.
“It’s not how many hits you get, it’s when you get the hits,” analyst Dave Stewart said Sunday on A's Postgame Live. “To score runs, you have to hit with runners in scoring position. And it takes multiple hits to score runs.”
[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
Sean Murphy’s contributions this season will be critical
Murphy’s 455-foot moon-shot on Sunday caught everyone’s attention, and gave the A's a timely insurance run. Much as his bat is highly touted, his work with the pitchers may be less visible but even more valuable to the A's.
After Sunday’s win, Murphy explained that he was versed in all the scouting reports on Los Angeles, but still prioritized the veteran instincts of his starter Mike Fiers.
“At this point, I’ll defer to Mike,” Murphy said. “Just because he has seen these guys so much, and he knows how his [stuff] plays to them.”
“They feel confident that one - he has the ability to work this staff. And two - to offensively get this job done,” Stewart said. “This guy, at his position is going to be an All-Star at some point, and I think it’s going to happen really soon.”
The constant reminder that none of this is normal
Manager Bob Melvin admits he keeps coming out of the A’s clubhouse expecting to see fans, and still isn’t totally adjusted to the exclusive presence of cardboard cutouts in seats.
The level of abnormality is even greater for players, who are already making huge changes to their preparation and routines. And now, their execution in heat-of-the-moment situations is only commemorated with pre-recorded crowd noise.
It’s difficult to be too critical of anyone’s individual performance, knowing these are uncharted times - personally and professionally for A's players.
[RELATED: A's diverse bullpen could be key to season]
“You’ve got guys on the team that are in all sorts of spots right now,” outfielder Mark Canha said after Sunday’s win. “It feels like were trying to all figure it out, and get our bearings, and get our legs under us.”
Fortunately for the A's, travel is convenient during the first month: 23 of their first 29 games will take place in the state of California.