Series preview: Athletics at Indians (May 16-18)

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians host their Opening Day opponent, the AL West leading Oakland Athletics.

The Indians begin a tough homestand with three games against the first place team in the AL West, the Oakland Athletics.

The division leading Detroit Tigers follow the A's into town next Monday through Wednesday, before the Tribe head back on the road to visit Baltimore and Chicago.

Division Watch: Tigers at Red Sox, Orioles at Royals, White Sox at Astros, Mariners at Twins.

Team in a Box

Oakland Athletics

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2013 Record

25-16

Runs/Game

5.0

1st

Runs/Game

3.3

2nd

AL West

1st

OBP

341

1st

H/9

7.3

3rd

Last 10

6-4

SLG

409

6th

BB/9

2.7

3rd

Last 30

18-12

Steals

24

9th

SO/9

7.8

5th

Remember that opening series against the Athletics? Yeah, that seems so long ago. We actually took two of three from them in Oakland, but that likely had more to do with Jim Johnson imploding twice than the Indians playing up to their capability. There was a definite dearth of offense in those three games as there was a total of 19 runs scored by both teams in the three games.

The A's have opened a three game lead and are just 1.5 back of the Tigers for the best record in the AL. They just completed a 6-4 homestand where they swept the Nationals and would have swept the White Sox if not for Jose Abreu. They are the best offense in the league and one of the top staffs as well. Their one weak spot is familiar to Tribe fans, their defense, as they are thirteenth in errors and eleventh on fielding percentage.

Projected Roster

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OPS

C

Derek Norris

R

102

352

998

1B

Brandon Moss

L

155

279

876

2B

Eric Sogard

L

101

180

485

3B

Josh Donaldson

R

186

267

835

SS

Jed Lowrie

S

181

261

759

LF

Yoenis Cespedes

R

153

257

833

CF

Coco Crisp

S

114

260

760

RF

Josh Reddick

L

134

228

624

DH

Alberto Callaspo

S

142

246

705

C

John Jaso

L

103

307

909

IF

Nick Punto

S

79

211

545

1B

Kyle Blanks*

R

10

200

400

OF

Craig Gentry

R

87

286

724

*Stats while with Padres

Since opening week, there have only been two roster changes to the hitters. Sam Fuld was let go when Gentry was activated from the DL. And just this week, they traded for Blanks after the Padres designated him for assignment. In order to do that, they finally cut bait on Daric Barton.

Norris and Jaso are having All-Star starts to their season as a catching platoon. Moss, Donaldson and Cespedes give them a very lethal hitting attack. The one black hole in the lineup is Sogard. Punto still somehow has a job.

Projected Staff

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

WHIP

K/9

Sonny Gray

R

2.17

54.0

1.148

7.2

Scott Kazmir

L

2.28

51.1

0.974

7.4

Jesse Chavez

R

2.44

51.2

1.006

8.9

Drew Pomeranz

L

1.14

23.2

1.014

9.1

Tommy Milone

L

4.10

41.2

1.272

5.8

Jim Johnson

R

7.16

16.1

2.020

8.3

Sean Doolittle

L

3.60

20.0

0.850

11.7

Luke Gregerson

R

2.61

20.2

1.016

6.5

Dan Otero

R

2.08

21.2

1.108

5.4

Fernando Abad

L

2.25

16.0

0.625

10.1

Fernando Rodriguez

R

0.00

1.0

1.000

9.0

Joe Savery

L

0.00

2.0

0.500

0.0

This rotation has been superb this season with the exception of Dan Straily who sent down to AAA. LGFT Pomeranz has assumed that spot and been lights in in both of his starts. We will miss both him and Milone, leaving us with just one lefty, our old friend Kazmir, who pitched 7.1 innings of shutout ball in that opening series, getting his first win of the year. We will face both righties, Gray and Chavez, but neither is shoddy. Gray tossed six shutout innings in the season opener while we missed Chavez due to the rainout.

Johnson was demoted from closer shortly after our series, but resumed those duties a few weeks back. He had one rough outing in Seattle and allowed a run in each of his last two appearances, so he may be vulnerable again. The rest of the bullpen has been lights out. Rodriguez and Savery are the two new faces, with one taking over for Evan Scribner and the other taking Pomeranz' spot when he moved to the rotation.

On the Shelf

  • SP Jarrod Parker [60 day DL], out for season
  • SP AJ Griffin [60 day DL] , out for season
  • RP Ryan Cook [15 day DL], no timetable for return
  • RP Eric O'Flaherty [60 day DL] , possibly mid-June
  • SS Jake Elmore [15 day DL], on AAA rehab
  • CF Coco Crisp [day-to-day], neck strain, expected to return for this series

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2014

2

1

667

9

10

452

2013

5

2

714

33

19

733

Last 5*

17

23

425

133

180

365

Last 10*

43

43

500

345

389

445

All-Time

1022

896

533

9021

8626

520

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