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Series Preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Oakland Athletics

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A series win this time would be nice

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians had a successful start to their homestand, taking 3 of 4 from the Orioles. They looked completely inept in the lone loss, but they keep managing to tread water despite showings like that. They’ll continue this stretch of games in Cleveland with three against the Oakland Athletics. The A’s took 2 of 3 from Cleveland a little over a week ago out in Oakland, so hopefully the Tribe can return the favor now that they’re in Progressive Field.

Team in a box

2019 Oakland Athletics

Record 22-25
Record 22-25
Runs Scored 222
Runs Allowed 209
Run Differential +13
Streak W3
AVG .242
OBP .318
SLG .411
OPS .729
wRC+ 98
K/9 7.96
BB/9 3.24

The A’s have had quite the week and a half since meeting the Indians out in Oakland. At that time, the A’s sat five games below .500 and had a -7 run differential. They lost two games to Seattle (each by a run), but thanks to three monster games against the Tigers where Oakland outscored Detroit 28-6, their run differential has swung positive.

Projected starters

Monday, May 20 6:10 p.m. ET: LHP Brett Anderson (v. Carlos Carrasco)

It’s been a few years since Brett Anderson has been an above-average starter (2014, his lone season in Colorado); 2019 is not different. In 49.0 innings this season, Anderson has allowed 24 earned runs while walking 20 and striking out 27 (ERA+ 95). He mainly uses his sinker (91 mph) and his slider (82 mph). The slider doesn’t fool many hitters, but it can generate a good number of groundballs. He also has a groundball-inducing changeup (83 mph) and curveball (77 mph). His most recent start came on May 14 against the Seattle Mariners; in that game, Anderson went 6.0 innings and allowed 4 earned runs on 6 hits while walking 1 and striking out 5.

Tuesday, May 21 6:10 p.m. ET: RHP Chris Bassitt (v. Trevor Bauer)

University of Akron alum Chris Bassitt takes the mound on Tuesday, and if he pitches anywhere near how he’s pitched the rest of this season, that could spell trouble for the Indians. In 32.2 innings, Bassitt has allowed just 7 earned runs while walking 9 and striking out 38 (ERA+ a SSS-aided 219). He succeeds by using a mix of his flyball-inducing sinker (93 mph) and slider (89 mph), his whiff-inducing fourseam (94 mph), and his groundball-inducing curve (70 mph). His most recent start came on May 16 against the Detroit Tigers; in that game, Bassitt went 8.0 innings and allowed zero runs on 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 7.

Wednesday, May 22 1:10 p.m. ET: RHP Frankie Montas (v. Jefry Rodriguez)

You remember Frankie Montas, yes? The pitcher who went six innings strong innings against Cleveland a couple of weeks ago? The guy who has a 97 mph sinker? Well he’s back, and his start after that one was even better. On May 17 against the Tigers, Montas went 8.2 innings and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits while walking no one and striking out 10.

Lineup highlights

The three hitters that I highlighted from the last series (Matt Chapman, Khris Davis, and Marcus Semien) are still the top three everyday players for Oakland. However, C Josh Phegley has been having a good season as well, slashing .282/.313/.491 across 115 plate appearances (wRC+ 115). Brett Anderson (Monday’s starter) is also hitting .667 on the year thanks to a few plate appearances in a NL park, so maybe Bob Melvin will sit Khris Davis in favor of his pitcher who owns a wRC+ of 279.

On a more serious note, 1B/OF Mark Canha has done well in a limited capacity for Oakland this season. In addition to playing every outfield position and first base, Canha is hitting well, slashing .200/.338/.491 (wRC+ 123) across 68 plate appearances. He may not be able to sustain that production if he was playing full-time, but he’s been useful when he’s needed.

Oakland Athletics roster

FanGraphs

Poll

How many games will the Indians win against the Athletics?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    3
    (15 votes)
  • 49%
    2
    (59 votes)
  • 31%
    1
    (37 votes)
  • 6%
    0
    (8 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now