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Cleveland Indians vs. Oakland A's series preview

The Indians look to continue their three game winning streak as the Oakland A’s visit Progressive Field.

Sonny Gray leads the A's pitching staff
Sonny Gray leads the A's pitching staff
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Well, what do you know, the Indians finally won another home series, only their second of the season. They look to continue that  momentum going into the All-Star break as the Oakland A's visit Progressive Field.

  • Friday 7:10 PM: Jesse Hahn (R) vs. Danny Salazar (R)
  • Saturday 6:35 PM: Kendall Graveman (R) vs. Carlos Carrasco (R)
  • Sunday 1:10 PM: Sonny Gray (R) vs. Corey Kluber (R)

The Upcoming Schedule: Once Sunday is complete, the Tribe could be feeling very good about their chances in the second half, if they win this series against the A's... or they could just be thankful for having the next four days off (with the exception of Kipnis). Next Friday the second half of the season opens with three games at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati to face the in-state rival Reds.

Division Watch: Blue Jays at Royals, Tigers at Twins, White Sox at Cubs.

Team in a Box

Oakland A's

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2015 Record

39-49

Runs/Game

4.4

5th

Runs/Game

3.8

4th

AL West

5th

OBP

320

7th

H/9

8.1

4th

Last 10

5-5

SLG

397

8th

BB/9

2.8

7th

Last 30

16-14

Steals

51

5th

SO/9

7.6

7th

* All stats are thru Wednesday's game except records.

The A's have been treading water since June 1. But it was their poor April and bad May that have them this far under 0.500. The Royals recently swept them and then the A's took two of three from the Rockies. They just split a four game set with the Mariners and lost two of three in the Bronx.

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Offensively, the A's are a slightly different team than in the past. They don't nearly walk as much and the home runs are significantly down. But they are scoring runs at decent clip. The Tribe staff should continue their strikeout binge as the A's are third in the league. And the pitching staff leads the league in ERA and overall is pretty stellar. In fact with their run differential, the A's record should actually be should be 10 games over 0.500 rather than under. The main reason for that is they are dead last in fielding (shock, it isn't the Tribe).

Projected Roster

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OPS

wRC+

C

Stephen Vogt

L

268

287

868

141

1B

Ike Davis

L

161

259

735

108

2B

Eric Sogard

L

264

256

590

68

3B

Brett Lawrie

R

321

290

757

113

SS

Marcus Semien

R

343

260

711

100

LF

Ben Zobrist

S

218

255

775

118

CF

Billy Burns

S

271

318

774

120

RF

Josh Reddick

L

317

286

802

127

DH

Billy Butler

R

337

250

690

94

OF

Mark Canha

R

218

249

728

106

OF

Sam Fuld

L

202

212

618

75

C

Josh Phegley

R

126

267

809

126

OF

Jake Smolinski

R

3

500

1167

248

The A's lineup is very flexible. The can basically have an all left handed or right handed lineup depending on the starting pitcher. Manager Bob Melvin has been platooning pretty heavily lately. As good as the A's offense has been  this year, the past two weeks have been difficult on them as they have slashed to a 243/290/377 clip. Fuld has led the way with a 953 OPS and Butler has also been rebounding with a 905 OPS.

Lawrie only has a 584 OPS in 53 PA, but Reddick has an 832 OPS and 6 homers in 107 PA. But former Royal Butler has 8 home runs, 63 RBI, and a 789 OPS in 550 PA against the Indians.

Projected Staff

Player

Throws

ERA

FIP

IP

WHIP

K/9

Sonny Gray

R

2.20

2.68

114.2

1.01

8.0

Scott Kazmir

L

2.49

3.18

101.2

1.12

8.5

Jesse Hahn

R

3.35

3.45

96.2

1.17

6.0

Jesse Chavez

R

3.20

3.09

95.2

1.18

7.6

Kendall Graveman

R

3.16

4.35

77.0

1.39

5.3

Tyler Clippard

R

2.52

3.86

35.2

1.15

8.6

Evan Scribner

R

4.06

4.52

44.1

1.06

9.5

Fernando Rodriguez

R

3.75

1.66

24.0

1.08

10.9

Fernando Abad

L

4.95

6.08

20.0

1.20

8.1

Drew Pomeranz

L

3.53

3.73

58.2

1.23

7.1

Eric O'Flaherty

L

7.04

4.64

15.1

2.15

6.5

Edward Mujica#

R

3.60

4.96

25.0

1.08

6.5

#includes stats with Red Sox

The Tribe opens with Jesse Hahn who is 3-1 in his past five starts. He has a 3.00 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 5.7 K/9 in 30 IP. Hahn came over in the Derek Norris trade last offseason. He did not face the Tribe while with the Padres last year. He also missed his last start with elbow soreness.  Graveman has been superb in his past five starts. He is 3-2 with a 1.25 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 5.3 K/9 in 36 IP. Graveman was part of the return in the Josh Donaldson trade last winter. He did not face the Indians last year either. A's ace Gray has not been his usual dominant self lately as he has a 3.58 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 8.0 K/9 spanning 32.2 IP. He confounded Tribe hitters in both of his starts last year. He had a 0.75 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 12.0 K/9 in 12 IP.

Turning our attention to the bullpen, you'll notice two former Tribesman there. Mujica was picked up from the Red Sox for cash in early May and Pomeranz lost his rotation spot in May as well. He has a 1.15 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 8.0 K/9 in 15.2 innings since moving to the pen. He also has been wild with 9 walks. But overall the bullpen has contributed a lot to that poor record. They only have a 60% save conversion rate and have the fewest holds in the league with just 24.

On the Shelf

  • CF Coco Crisp [60 day DL], possible return after All-Star break
  • RP Sean Doolittle [60 day DL], possible late July return
  • 2B Tyler Ladendorf [60 day DL], no timetable for return
  • SP Jarrod Parker [60 day DL], no timetable for return
  • P Taylor Thompson [60 day DL], no timetable for return
  • P Pat Venditte [15 day DL], possible July return

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2015

-

-

-

-

-

-

2014

2

4

333

15

40

142

Last 5*

17

22

436

115

184

297

Last 10*

39

44

470

323

390

415

All-Time

1022

899

532

9027

8656

519

*Does not include 2015 stats

Prediction: I really like the pitching matchups in this series. I think they could get a sweep, but I will call for two of three to get them within two games of 0.500.