The A's played an ugly series in the Terrordome. The offense woke up, only to have the starting pitching come tumbling back down to earth. And HARD.
One of the things we need to remember about the A's is that the starting staff is still one of the youngest around. We've come to expect ace performances night in and night out from Blanton (25 years old), Haren (25 years old) and Harden (still just 24 years old). But the truth is that young starting pitchers can be inconsistent at times. I think A's fans have been spoiled over the last six years or so seeing such young pitchers come in and dominate almost automatically with Hudson, Mulder, Zito, Harden, Blanton (after his initial bumps), Street and Haren.
So that's why you'll see one series against the Mariners in which three starters will give up only eight hits and then the next series, the line looks like this: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 7 ER; 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 4 BB; and 6.0 IP, 11 H, 7 ER.
For those scoring at home, that's 16 IP, 28 H and 20 ER. You aren't going to win many games with that line.
On the other hand, the A's bullpen has absolutely remarkable so far this young season. If you remove Saarloos from the equation, the pen has given up only 5 ER over 26 IP. That's a 1.73 ERA. The A's starters currently have a 6.64 ERA.
I don't care how improved your lineup is or what order they're in, you aren't going to win many games with a 6.64 ERA. That will definitely come down, but the A's are facing two very good offenses coming into Oakland in the next two series. It's not going to get any easier. Most people, including myself, feel the Twins offense is average at best and it just handed the A's starters their collective heads.
And don't tell me that it's Macha's fault. The A's starters need to improve and get it done.
The moments of brilliance were nice in Seattle, but the consistency needs to be there. This is supposed to be the strength of the team, it's just with youth comes inconsistency. Well, except Loaiza...his apparent excuse is witchcraft.
Nonetheless, at least the bullpen is going on all cylinders and the offense is doing a little better with Frank Thomas awakening today. Swisher remained hot, but DJ is now 0 for 26. Hopefully a good dose of Texas pitching will help him work it out.
I also believe in part, the reason the A's have had such great finishes in the past is because of that young starting pitching (like with great power comes great responsibility, with great youth sometimes comes inconsistency). They have a tendency of picking it up and getting stronger while some of the older pitchers slow down a little bit when the weather heats up. But for now, Curt Young has to help right this ship. Perhaps coming home will help do the trick. It just doesn't get any easier against the Texas lineup that slammed Angels pitching last night.