Urban: A's Staking Claim as Contenders

Urban: A's Staking Claim as Contenders
June 1, 2010, 7:08 pm
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June 1, 2010URBAN ARCHIVEA'S PAGE A'S VIDEOMychael Urban
CSNBayArea.com
If the current 10-game road swing through Baltimore, Detroit and Boston is, as the Chronicles brilliant Scott Ostler suggested, the Are We For Real? Tour, the answer --seven games and five victories into the trip -- has to be a resounding yes.

They have one of the most impressive starting rotations in the game right now, even without lost-for-the-year-again Justin Duchscherer, the bullpen is deep and versatile, the defense has been dazzling, and the offense is finding creative ways to get around its obvious lack of power.

Oh, and its time to give Bob Geren some credit. When a team bounces back from striking out 17 times on Sunday to beat another pitchers capable of getting double-digit punchy (Justin Verlander), the manager has to be lauded for having an even-keel club.

It doesnt even really matter what happens at Fenway Park, where the Elephants on Tuesday night are scheduled to open a three-game series, with lefty Gio Gonzalez taking on Red Sox right John Lackey.

That resurgent Ben Sheets and Brett Anderson, who was as sharp as ever in his first start off the DL over the weekend in Detroit, are the starters slated to follow Gonzalez to the mound in Beantown suggest that a Red Sox sweep is highly unlikely -- and anything short of being swept will send the As home with a winning record on the trip.

Remember, the only thing preventing many people from truly believing that the As are as good as theyve played thus far was a miserable record away from Oakland, where theyre a dominant 18-9.

The road record was 5-13 before this trip, 5-14 after the trip opened with a loss to the lowly Orioles.

Now its a far more respectable 10-15, thanks to a terrific series against the Tigers that earned Oakland a ton of respect from one of the most respected men in the game.

Theyre a very good team, Ostler quoted Detroit manager Jim Leyland as saying. I really like em. I like em a lot. Theyre a really good team.

Translation: Theyre for real.

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