Through all the injuries, suspensions, and question marks, the A's starting rotation has actually performed relatively well this season.
Oakland's starters have compiled a 4.17 ERA, 12th-best in the majors and sixth in the American League. Mike Fiers, Brett Anderson, and Chris Bassitt all own earned run averages under four, while Daniel Mengden's is under five.
Those numbers would suggest that the unit is, at the very least, serviceable. However, that hasn't been the case against the league's better teams.
Just look at Mengden and Homer Bailey's last two starts. Mengden limited the last-place Mariners to one run on four hits in seven innings last Tuesday. But in his next start, the first-place Twins knocked him around for four earned runs on six hits in just 3 1/3 innings.
Bailey's Oakland debut also came against the Mariners, and it went well. The right-hander allowed just two runs in six innings, earning the victory. On Monday night in Houston, however, Bailey surrendered nine runs in two innings.
For the season, Bailey is 4-1 with a 3.91 ERA when facing opponents under .500. Against teams that are .500 or better, he is just 4-6 with a 6.75 ERA. Mengden's numbers are similar. Against sub-.500 clubs, the right-hander is 3-0 with a sparkling 2.31 ERA. However, against winning squads, Mengden is 1-2 with a 6.67 ERA.
Bassitt has experienced the same type of success against losing teams, posting a 3.28 ERA. But against plus-.500 opponents, his ERA shoots up to 4.81.
Fiers and Anderson have been the exceptions in the A's rotation. Not surprisingly, they have been Oakland's only two consistent starters throughout the season, not including the suspended Frankie Montas.
Fiers is 4-2 with a 3.52 ERA against losing teams and 5-1 with a 3.74 ERA against winning squads. Anderson is 5-3 with a 3.88 ERA against sub-.500 opponents and 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA against plus-.500 clubs.
[RELATED: Houston makes statement with 11-1 win]
Over the next month, the A's will face an extremely challenging schedule. Including the current series against Houston, nine of Oakland's next 10 opponents currently own a record of .500 or better.
Fiers and Anderson have proven capable of succeeding against the league's best. Now it's Bassitt, Mengden, and Bailey's turn to step up against tougher competition.