Both Oakland and Cleveland have pathetic lineups. But the Athletics can compensate for their anemic offense with an outstanding group of young starting pitchers, while the Indians have a staff complementary in ability with their lineup. The way the Indians are hitting and the Athletics are pitching, I wouldn't rule out a series shutout.
To start the series the Indians got Gio Gonzalez, who hadn't allowed a run in two starts against the Indians. The young southpaw breezed through the Tribe lineup (which was without both Travis Hafner and Michael Brantley), striking out seven and giving up five singles in seven innings. The only time the Indians had anything resembling a rally against Gonzalez came in the second, when Oakland committed three errors on two straight plays to place runners on second and third with two out. But Trevor Crowe struck out, ending the threat.
Fausto Carmona looked pretty good, though it did come against a very weak lineup. His changeup was a couple miles per hour slower than normal, and got a lot of misses with it. It was his fastball that got him in trouble; in the second, he grooved a fastball to Jeff Larish, leading to a two-run homer. He later gave up a home run to LGFT Coco Crisp. Oakland, who came into the game with the lowest HR total in the AL, scored all five of their runs via the long ball, finishing their scoring with a two-run shot off the bat of Jack Cust in the seventh. The way Gonzalez was pitching, that last homer probably didn't make any difference.
The midges made an appearance tonight, just in time for Carmona's start, but they weren't affecting play to the extent they did in the 2007 ALCS. You could see base runners at first waving the little bugs away, but there were no emergency Off! supply runs needed.