Cleveland Indians Series Preview: Oakland Athletics, August 16-August 18

Thearon W. Henderson

The Indians continue this nine game road trip with a visit to O.com Coliseum and the Oakland Athletics.

The Tribe begin their final West Coast visit with a three game set scheduled for Friday at 10:05 PM, Saturday at 9:05 PM and Sunday at 4:05 PM. After the Sunday game, they fly down to Anaheim to take on the Angels.

Scoreboard Watch: Royals at Tigers, Rockies at Orioles, Yankees at Boston, Blue Jays at Rays, Mariners at Rangers

Team in a Box

Oakland Athletics

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2013 Record

68-52

Runs/Game

4.4

8th

Runs/Game

3.9

3rd

AL West

2nd

OBP

320

7th

H/9

8.3

2nd

Last 10

4-6

SLG

397

10th

BB/9

2.5

1st

Last 30

15-15

Steals

56

12th

SO/9

6.9

12th

*all stats through Wednesday's games except for records

This offense has taken a severe downturn since we met them in May. They were in the top 5 but now reside in the middle of the pack or bottom third. Their team average is only .244, but they are second in walks to get them to seventh in on base percentage. The pitching staff has done a similar 180 since May. Back then they were one of the worst staffs, but now they are a top five staff. Bartolo Colon is the only starter above 100 ERA+, but the other four are all between 88-99. The reason they are in most games is that the starters do not walk a lot of guys. The cumulative BB/9 for the five starters is 2.4. The relievers have been excellent too. The defense has not been very good though, tenth in fielding percentage and dead last in double plays turned. With the staff proving capable this year, they currently hold the second Wild Card by three games over Baltimore and are just a game and a half back of the Rangers in the West.

Projected Lineup

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS+

2B

Alberto Callaspo

S

322

255

327

357

115

SS

Jed Lowrie

S

486

285

349

416

115

RF

Josh Reddick

L

342

215

302

379

91

LF

Yeonis Cespedes

R

426

231

296

435

103

1B

Brandon Moss

L

377

240

313

453

113

3B

Josh Donaldson

R

493

297

375

485

141

DH

Seth Smith

L

354

244

316

372

119

C

Stephen Vogt

L

63

250

306

393

96

CF

Chris Young

R

291

189

275

375

81

This lineup has been very fluid with Crisp (101 OPS+) missing time. They can't find a leadoff hitter. And the placement of Smith is a pure guess as they have been rotating a lot of players through the DH spot. Derek Norris (105) might be available to replace Vogt this series. Donaldson should be hitting higher as well. Cespedes has struggled a bit but that has been due to nagging injuries all year. Nut overall, this lineup still looks like it can hit. Not a ton of home run power, but decent doubles power. And our rotation needs to limit the walks. This team is very patient at the dish. Eric Sogard (101) could play at 2B and the last bench guy is Nate Freiman (90).

Projected Starters

Date

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

H/9

BB/9

K/9

Aug 16

A.J. Griffin (Masterson)

R

3.88

153.0

7.9

2.2

7.1

Aug 17

Dan Straily (Jimenez)

R

4.19

107.1

8.1

2.9

7.1

Aug 18

Bartolo Colon (Kazmir)

R

2.97

154.1

9.2

1.5

4.8

We get a couple of rematches from the May series, in Griffin/Masterson and Colon/Kazmir. Griffin has really struggled lately, mainly from the long ball. Since July 1, he has a 4.56 ERA, a 1.216 WHIP, a 7.1 K/9 and a whopping 13 home runs given up in eight starts. In the May 8 start in Progressive, he lost 4-3 with Swisher and Santana both taking him deep. Straily has similar numbers to Griffin, but his ERA is much better. He has a 2.88 ERA with a 1.230 WHIP and a 7.08 K/9 but only 5 longballs in seven starts. He did not pitch in the May series and has never pitched against Cleveland in his career. Colon has a 3.38 ERA, 1.417 WHIP, 4.1 K/9 and only 3 home runs in his last eight starts. He seems to be getting very lucky considering his WHIP is the worst of the three and he hardly strikes anyone out. He was rocked in the May 9 start in Progressive, losing 9-2 with Kipnis and Swisher both taking him deep.

Key Relievers

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

ERA+

H/9

BB/9

K/9

Grant Balfour

R

1.91

47.0

202

6.3

3.3

10.5

Jerry Blevins

L

3.15

45.2

123

7.5

2.8

7.9

Ryan Cook

R

2.03

53.1

191

6.6

2.4

8.3

This bullpen has been very good with the five top appearance guys with ERA+ of 123 or better. Balfour has been mostly lights out since July 1. He has eleven saves in 16 games, with only one blown save leading to him taking the loss. He has a 1.80 ERA, 1.000 WHIP and a 13.2 K/9. He did not get to pitch in the May series in Cleveland. He has made 25 appearances against us, but most of those were as a set-up for the Twins. Cook has been smoking hot since July 1. He has 0.50 ERA in 18 innings spanning 17 appearances with a 0.833 WHIP and a 7.0 K/9. He only pitched in one game of the May series with a perfect inning and two strikeouts. Blevins has had two bad outings since July 1 including a blown save, but overall is still at a 3.27 ERA, 1.363 WHIP and 9.8 K/9 in 11 innings since July 1. He only pitched to one batter in the May series, retiring Kipnis on a deep flyball to left-center. Other arms include Sean Doolittle (132 ERA+), Pat Neshek (127), Jesse Chavez (103) and Dan Otero (235).

On the Shelf

  • SP Brett Anderson (right foot stress fracture) - 60-day DL, on AAA rehab
  • CF Coco Crisp (sore left wrist) - day-to-day
  • C John Jaso (concussion) 15-day DL, no timetable for return
  • C Derek Norris (back soreness) - day-to-day
  • P Fernando Rodriguez (Tommy John surgery) - out for season
  • 2B Scott Sizemore (left knee surgery) - out for season

Crisp's sore wrist has put Chris Young into the line-up. Norris may be back in the lineup this series as well.

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2013

4

0

1000

21

8

854

2012

2

8

200

30

60

220

Last 5*

17

25

405

133

193

336

Last 10*

41

47

466

339

408

416

All-Time

1019

893

533

9000

8605

521

*Does not include 2013 stats

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