It seems like just yesterday the A's starting rotation was mowing down hitters left and right.
On their season-opening eight-game homestand, Oakland's starters allowed just six earned runs in 46 2/3 innings for a sparkling 1.16 ERA.
That stellar pitching has not carried onto the road, where A's starters have allowed 19 earned runs in just 15 2/3 innings over the last four games. That translates to an ERA of 10.91.
Add in the A's two games in Tokyo to start the season and Oakland starters have allowed 27 earned runs in 23 2/3 innings away from the Coliseum, an ERA of 10.27.
"Sometimes these trips can get to you," Marco Estrada told reporters. "We've been facing tough teams. The Astros came out swinging. So did we. They ended up winning all the games out there. These things are going to happen. I think tomorrow we'll be just fine. We'll get things going again. We'll get on a roll and hopefully start a long winning streak."
A's manager Bob Melvin isn't concerned about the early road struggles: "I don't think these guys worry about playing on the road too much. We had some success last year ... These guys aren't afraid to play on the road."
Estrada was the latest A's starter to struggle, allowing six earned runs in just four innings Monday night in a 12-4 loss to the Orioles.
"I just wasn't making pitches," Estrada said. "They were aggressive and wasting the good pitches I made. The bad ones, they hit, and they hit them hard."
"They just got on him early," Melvin added. "They didn't let him settle in. There were some deep pitch at-bats from the beginning of the game. They just made him work really hard and throw a lot of pitches. He ended up throwing close to 100 pitches when he came out."
It appears the Coliseum may have masked some of the pitching issues many feared the A's might have. Deep fly ball outs in Oakland turn into home runs in places like Houston and Baltimore.
During this four-game losing streak, A's starters have surrendered six home runs, after allowing just three during the previous eight-game homestand. But the players remain confident they will turn things around.
"This team is really good," Estrada said. "We're going to score a lot of runs. We're going to pitch well. We just have to put it together and hopefully it starts tomorrow."