The Yankees have won four straight series to open the season, but they're about to face a surprising Oakland team that leads the AL West with a 9-5 record and had won six straight at home before losing to the awful Orioles on Sunday. It's the Athletics' best start since 1992, and they're doing it with strong pitching and small ball.
Until the loss to the Orioles, The A's starters were 6-0 in the first 13 games with an AL-leading 2.30 ERA. Fifth starter Gio Gonzalez, a lefty who opens the series for the A's, is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA. He has been distracted by personal issues recently since his girlfriend was involved in a serious auto accident and another friend was killed in a separate crash.
Yankees starter Javier Vazquez, who is off to a poor start with a 0-2 record and a 9.82 ERA, shouldn't have to worry too much about giving up the long ball. But Oakland has found it can manufacture runs this season. Center fielder Ryan Sweeney has a major-league best 13-game hitting streak helped by four infield singles. He hasn't hit a home run, but he's driven in nine runs and is batting .320. Second baseman Mark Ellis, who was batting a team-best .345 when he suffered a left hamstring injury, might be ready to play Tuesday night. Outifelder Rajai Davis leads the majors with seven stolen bases.
Oakland first baseman Daric Barton, who is hitting .310 with seven RBI, was hit on the right elbow by a pitch on Sunday and incurred some swelling. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam today, and his status is uncertain.