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Series Preview: August 29-September 1

Josh Willingham now has some help in the lineup.
Josh Willingham now has some help in the lineup.

 

Date Time CLE Starter OAK Starter Tickets
August 29 7:05 PM David Huff Brandon McCarthy Tickets
August 30 7:05 PM TBA Trevor Cahill Tickets
August 31 7:05 PM Ubaldo Jiménez Rich Harden Tickets
September 1 12:05 PM Fausto Carmona Gio Gonzalez Tickets

 

The Indians haven't played the Athletics since early May, and the team they'll be facing will look a bit different. Their starting rotation is largely the same, but a third of their starting lineup has changed.

The New Guys

1B Brandon Allen. The A's acquired him from Arizona at the July trade deadline for Brad Ziegler. The 25-year-old was originally in the Chicago White Sox organization, and was dealt to the Diamondbacks in 2009 for Tony Pena. He had some success in his short stints with Arizona, but lost playing time to Paul Goldschimdt, and was deemed expendable. Since arriving in Oakland, he's been hot, hitting .327/.367/.655 in 60 plate appearances.First base has been a black hole for Oakland, with Daric Barton (68 OPS+) and Conor Jackson (84 OPS+) getting most of the playing time at the position.

2B Jermile Weeks. Oakland dealt Mark Ellis to Colorado at the end of June, and Weeks has been playing second base since. Oakland drafted Jermile was Oakland's first round pick in the 2008 draft, and was tearing it up in AAA before his callup to the majors. He's the brother of Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks.

3B Scott Sizemore. We've seen him playing for the Tigers, but mainly as a second baseman. But after going to Oakland for David Purcey, the A's moved him to third base (replacing LGFT Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andy LaRoche, both of whom were having terrible seasons). He's hit well since coming to Oakland (117 OPS+).

 

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So Oakland's been able to fill three of their gaping offensive holes on the fly, and the lineup that the Indians will face this week will be a lot better than the one they faced in early May. Oakland's been hitting .276/.344/.449 since the All-Star Break, quite an improvement over the first half of the season (.233/.299/.337). Josh Willingham, who was a trade possibility for the Indians in July, has been Oakland's best offensive player, hitting .249/.331/.482 with 23 home runs. LGFT Coco Crisp has 37 stolen bases, which ties the league lead.