When the Oakland A's demoted Dan Straily on Sunday, it wasn't necessarily because he allowed eight runs over his last two starts. They stashed the right-hander in Sacramento because they only needed four starting pitchers until the first week of July thanks to a slew of off-days.
But things didn't go so well in Straily's first start with the River Cats. Straily allowed six runs on nine hits in just six innings. Only two of the runs were earned because Chris Owings reached via Andy Parrino's error in the fourth inning. That preceded Alfredo Marte's three-run blast that reached the clubhouse roof in left field. The right-hander went on to allow runs in the fifth and sixth before exiting.
"I just don't have an answer for you," Straily said about his struggles. "I was staying aggressive."
After Friday's start, Straily has allowed 14 runs in his last 14 innings between Oakland and Sacramento. He might not get another start with Sacramento to help rectify his issues before the A's need a fifth starter on July 6. If the A's decide they aren't happy with where Straily is at, they could also give prospect Sonny Gray a shot, who would be making his major league debut.
"The thing is I felt strong and felt good," Straily said. "I would have been a lot happier with six innings and two earned runs instead of six with six."
Straily had been outstanding in his Triple-A career prior to Friday night, when he tied his career-high for runs allowed with six. In 14 Triple-A starts coming in, he was 9-3 with a 1.79 ERA and 4.08 K:BB ratio with Sacramento.
After the game, Straily seemed most troubled with the fact that he's felt good during his slump, and that the results just haven't been there. There isn't a mechanical fix, he said. He indicated that he just needs to maintain his aggression and keep hitting his spots.
What happens over the next week until the A's need another starter remains unclear, but regardless of what happens, confidence isn't the issue for Straily.
"I feel like I was in command of the ball," Straily said. "I made some pitches that they got just enough wood on to get out of the infield and just over their heads.
"I need to make better pitches then and keep staying aggressive. Nothing changes. Keep staying aggressive and just pound the strike zone and let everything happen."