The A's embarked on a six-day road trip with first place in hand and confidence aplenty.

 

But, it seems as if demons were waiting just outside the Colisuem gates.  The A's dropped five of six on the road trip through Tampa Bay and Toronto.

 

The weak link?  Pitching.  Excluding the single win, a 4-3 victory over Toronto, the A's gave up at least six runs in each game.  The starting pitching was horrendous.  There's no other way about it, the rotation sure looked terrible.  The only bright spot was a strong start by Gio Gonzalez in the win.  Quite the turn of events after Gio was the one fighting for the final rotation spot during Spring Training.  And, the man he was battling with, Trevor Cahill, proved that Geren and company made the correct decision.  Cahill gave up eight runs in five innings and showed he hasn't made major improvements from last year.  He continued to leave the ball up, allowing Toronto to go deep three times.  Think about if Cahill went all nine innings.  That would be six home runs in a game.  Of course that's unrealistic reasoning, but OUCH.

 

The offense was pretty pathetic as well, but it's hard to get on them when they're swinging from behind.  Hitting with a big deficit means they come up with a different approach.  And that approach makes it difficult to look like an efficient offense.

 

The rotation needs to have more effective starts.  Dallas Braden gets the first shot against the Rangers tomorrow morning.  Making it ever so important is the fact that the Rangers are now a half game in first via a weekend sweep of the Mariners in Seattle.  With Brett Anderson on the disabled list, Cahill will have to find a way to keep the ball down in the zone.  First things first though, Braden needs to record his fifth quality start in his sixth start to give the A's a chance.