The defending American League West Champion Oakland A’s open their 2014 season against the Cleveland Indians Monday night at the O.co Coliseum.
With the weather forecast predicting rain, it may be a sloppy, less-than-idyllic opening day.
The A’s, coming from a 15-13-5 spring training, will undoubtedly be glad to get the regular season underway after a month in Phoenix, Arizona.
Sonny Gray is scheduled to make his first opening day start for the Oakland Athletics with the Cleveland Indians countering with 29-year old Justin Masterson.
The A’s have a new tandem of late relievers; former San Diego Padre Luke Gregerson and former Baltimore Orioles closer Jim Johnson will bolster the bullpen after the defection of 38-save Grant Balfour to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Returning is 4th-place MVP voted Josh Donaldson at third base. Donaldson’s .301 batting average and 93 RBIs led the A’s in 2013.
Providing the long-ball power for the A’s in 2014 will be returning starters Yoenis Cespedes’ (26 home runs), Brandon Moss (30 HRs) and Donaldson (24HRs).
The A’s were third in the AL with 186 home runs in 2013.
Coco Crisp will again lead off and ignite the A’s offense which will look to improve on last year’s .254 team batting average.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin plans on using the full complement of players on the roster.
“We have a few guys that’ll start every day and the rest we’ll match up depending on game situations. Just because you don’t start doesn’t mean you won’t play,” Melvin said.