Mar 25, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Brandon Moss (right) is congratulated by teammate Yoenis Cespedes after hitting a three run home run in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Cleveland Indians @ Oakland A's

Indians Begin the Season Against Oakland A’s

And just like that, another season of Major League Baseball is set to get under way. This year, the scheduling gods decided they would cut the Indians a break and start them off on the west coast rather than in the wintery conditions of Cleveland and Progressive Field. Ok, so they didn’t help them out that much. The Indians will open up their home schedule on Friday, meaning there is still a chance things could get snowed out. Cleveland is awesome like that.

In the meantime, the Indians will begin the season out in Oakand to take on the A’s in a three game set that could be among the most interesting games the team plays all season long. Being that the A’s play on the West coast in the AL West division, this is one of the few times all season that we will get to see the Indians play what should be one of the best teams in baseball yet again.

That’s not hyperbole. The A’s are bringing back much of the same team that has won the AL West two years in a row. They have several key pieces that would look good on any roster, not just in Oakland where moneyball has become the norm. Billy Beane and his staff have done a great job of assembling talent on a budget and putting a competitive team on the field year in and year out. For that reason, 2014 should be no different for the A’s despite the improvements made by the Mariners, Rangers, and Angels.

Leading the way for the A’s is the hear of the order, Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, Josh Donaldson, and Brandon Moss. All four are above average offensive talents and all are capable of putting together monster seasons, specifically in the area of home runs. The A’s despite playing in one of the worst parks in all of baseball for offensive production have one of the most potent lineups in the game today. Funny how things work out sometimes. Imagine if they didn’t play in the cavernous Oakland Coliseum but rather the short porch of Yankee Stadium or the arid launch pad that is the ball park in Arlington.

The A’s also sport one of the more sound defensive teams in all of baseball. Donaldson is one of the best defensive thrid baseman in all of baseball. Reddick, who has become known just as much for his outlandish appearance, might have the strongest throwing arm out of every major league outfielder. Jed Lowery is an above average option at short stop an Coco Crisp can cover a crazy amount of space out in center field.

The A’s don’t only sport a powerful offense and solid defense. They also have a formidable pitching staff capable of shutting down just about anyone. Led by top prospect Sonny Gray, the A’s are also rolling out with former Indians Scott Kazmir, Dan Straily, and A.J. Griffin in 2014. However, the A’s also suffered a major blow to their rotation this spring when Jarrod Parker was sidelined and ultimately lost for the year after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery.

For the Indians, this opening series is their first chance to show fans that the few small changes they made this off-season might not have been so bad. Even though they did their best to improve the team, and many feel that David Murphy, John Axford, and Elliot Johnson can make a positive impact, the greater majority of fans were left feeling a bit underwhelmed by the moves. If the Indians can win two of three and also do so in impressive fashion, it could help build some positive momentum as they head towards Friday’s Opening Day festivities. Also, winning a season opening series against a team that many feel could be a playoff team could be huge.

Pitching Matchups:

Tags: Cleveland Indians Josh Donaldson Josh Reddick Sonny Gray Yoenis Cespedes

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