ANAHEIM -- The Oakland Athletics have won seven games in a row. With a 7-2 record they are off to their best start since 2003. The A's have outscored their opponents 57-23 over their last seven games. Could they really be this good?
Nine games is a relatively small sample size. There are reasons to believe the hype, however.
While it remains unlikely that Oakland will average six runs per game, it is also unlikely that Jarrod Parker will struggle all season long. Yoenis Cespedes is by far the A's biggest offensive threat and he is currently not at his best.
Josh Reddick, their 2012 team leader in home runs and RBI, has missed the last three games and got off to a slow start as well.
The team has a balanced lineup and each night it seems like someone else is the hero. Look at their 15 walk-off wins last season -- 10 different guys delivered the final blow in those games.
The A's have held first place for the last five days after only sitting atop the division after winning their final game of 2012 last year. They've had early success without some of their key contributors at their best.
Again, it is early, but the A's are looking like the team that went on an exceptional 72-38 run after June 1 last season. The 2013 version is built on depth and versatility. That allows them to absorb injuries, exploit matchups, and play the hot hand.
Oakland is on a roll and playing with more and more confidence with each win. It was hard to get a gauge on what they were capable of when they swept the Astros, but now they are throttling the Angels, a team picked by most to win the division. It is impossible to keep up the pace they are currently on, but it isn't a stretch to say the A's are playing the way they're capable of and not over their heads.