The Oakland Athletics currently lead Major League Baseball in team ERA and also team starting pitcher ERA by a wide margin. Although the A's bullpen has been taxed while awaiting the return of Andrew Bailey, the A's starters continue to put together impressive outings. Given the continued dominance by the A's pitching staff, it seemed fitting to try and rank these pitchers over the course of the season.
Although these are the first power rankings of the season, the rankings do not reflect entire year to date, but rather how they are currently performing.
Oakland A's Starting Pitcher 2011 Power Rankings, May 4
1. Trevor Cahill - There were concerns that Cahill received a lot of luck last year and he would show a quick regression to some mean. Instead he's settled into a nice groove and currently stands at 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA. Since giving up four runs in 4 2/3 innings, Cahill has given up two runs over his last 21 innings pitched. He is pitching extremely well right now.
2. Tyson Ross - During spring training, Ross lost out to Brandon McCarthy in the battle for the fifth spot. When Dallas Braden went down with a shoulder injury, Ross got his second chance. After struggling in his first start, he has since given up one run in 13 1/3 innings over two starts. As is to be expected, he has received a pair of no-decisions in those two starts courtesy of crummy offense. While he is not the best pitcher in the rotation, he is pitching incredibly well right now.
3. Brett Anderson - He was shellacked in his last outing, giving up seven earned runs over five innings. However, this is one guy who will get my subjective benefit of the doubt. It was his first truly bad performance of the year against a solid offense. If he struggles in his next start against Cleveland I might be more inclined to drop him further.
4. Gio Gonzalez - Gonzalez started off extremely hot but has cooled down a bit over his last few starts. He managed to snap a two-game losing streak in his last start as he went 6 2/3 innings and gave up two runs. He struggled a bit early on with walks, but he has brought those totals down a bit over his last three starts.
5. Brandon McCarthy - While McCarthy struggled two starts ago against the Angels, he's quietly been a solid fourth starter for the A's. Even when he gives up a lot of hits and four or five or more runs in a game, he somehow still gets past at least five innings thanks to otherwise efficient work. He received a no-decision in his last start but kept the A's in striking distance before Hideki Matsui won it with a walk-off in the tenth.
Out of Rankings: Dallas Braden - Unfortunately Braden suffered a bit of a setback in his throwing session on Monday and is planning a second visit to Dr. Lewis Yocum to look it over. Given how this is developing, I can't imagine he's back before June at the very earliest.