The tentative schedule for the 2014 season was released today and the A’s will begin the campaign by hosting the Cleveland Indians on March 31, the earliest opener in Oakland history. It will also be the first time since 2009 that the A’s won’t have to deal with Felix Hernandez on Opening Day.
The A’s have faced Hernandez to open the season five times in the last seven years and lost all five games. It’s a welcome change to not face the perennial Cy Young candidate in the first game of the season. Nevertheless, the Seattle Mariners roll into town for a four-game series after the Indians leave, so the A’s will have to contend with King Felix eventually.
The MLB season will begin with another overseas showcase as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will travel Down Under to play two games at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 22 and 23.
Games back on American soil begin Monday, March 31 without a Sunday night game to ring in the new season as Major League Baseball has done the past few years. Personally, I’ve never liked the idea of a “pre-Opening Day” in baseball, or any sport for that matter. The first game for every team should be on the same day. In my mind, the intoxicating mixture of hope, anticipation and excitement that is the first day of the season is dulled a bit when you know every team and fan isn’t essentially going through the same experience.
Getting back to the A’s, Susan Slusser pointed out they get shafted in the travel department (as usual), as their East Coast trips feature illogical itineraries that have them bouncing all over the map. Instead of a sensible three-city jaunt through New York, Boston and Baltimore that would drastically reduce mileage traveled, the A’s instead get trips that have them flying into New York, down to Miami, then all the way back up to Detroit before heading home.
Obviously the A’s (and the Mariners for that matter) will always travel more miles in a season than any other team due to their location and the far distances between them and their division rivals. You would think Major League Baseball would take this into account and help ease the burden of traveling a bit by scheduling more rational road trips, but this is MLB we’re talking about. Logic isn’t really a part of their playbook.
In injury-related news, Josh Reddick was activated from the disabled list today while Josh Donaldson is back in today’s starting lineup against Minnesota after missing Sunday’s game with soreness in his right quad. Reddick, who will be on the bench, says he has no pain in his right wrist, but has both his wrists heavily taped as a precaution. He last played August 25 against Baltimore.
Brandon Moss had a wisdom tooth extraction yesterday but is feeling right as rain and is hitting fourth today, according to Susan Slusser. His lower right wisdom tooth had bothered him off and on for the past couple of months, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Moss was recently named AL Player of the Week for period ending September 1. If he starts to slump, I’d consider putting the tooth back in.
Lastly with some paternity news, Dan Otero is rejoining the team today as his wife Tiffany has not yet gone into labor, according to Susan Slusser. He will return to Arizona later this week. A quick Google search for ‘Dan Otero baby’ brought up their baby registry, so check it out if you’re curious.