Game Preview: Oakland (60-76) vs. Cleveland (68-65)
By Matt Van Wormer
Last night, the Indians battled and battled and battled but couldn’t pull out the victory until the bottom of the 16th inning when Jack Hannahan hit an RBI single that scored Cord Phelps who was pinch running for Jim Thome. The win moved the Indians a half game ahead of the Chicago White Sox who took a tough loss to the Minnesota Twins. A four game sweep is now in the cards for the Indians.
Making the 12:05 start for the Tribe will be Fausto Carmona (6-12, 4.85, 1.33 WHIP) who will be looking to start off the month of September on a strong note. Earlier this year against Oakland, Carmona threw eight dominate innings, giving up just one earned run on five hits. Hideki Matsui, 9 for 14 against Carmona with two doubles and a home run, is someone that Carmona will have to shut down if he is going to have success against the Oakland lineup.
The Tribe is going to have to beat Gio Gonzalez (11-11, 3.35, 1.35 WHIP) if they want to sweep this four game series and possibly gain ground on the Tigers. Gonzalez has not faced the Tribe this season and none of the Indians hitters has had a lot of experience against the southpaw. Hopefully the Indians bats won’t wait 16 innings to come alive during this afternoon game.
With the White Sox off on Thursday, the Indians can put themselves a full game ahead of the Pale Hose in the standings if they pull off a victory in the early afternoon. After the game, Cleveland will look to catch the result of the Royals/Tigers matchup that gets started just an hour after their game. If the Royals can actually hold the Tiger’s offense at bay, Cleveland will be just 4.5 games behind the Tigers. The Indians head to Kansas City to face the same Royals that are taking on the Tigers for the weekend.
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