Tribe Heads to the West Coast for Three with A’s
Bob Toth | On 10, May 2019
It would appear as though schedule makers have never dealt with inconvenient flight schedules. After a rain-delayed getaway day start on Thursday against Chicago, the Cleveland Indians hopped a late plane to Oakland to start a three-game trip to the Bay Area against the A’s this weekend.
Oakland (17-22) is coming off of back-to-back interleague series with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, with the latter series starting a six-game homestand against state of Ohio. The matchcup with the Pirates over the weekend closed their road trip with a series loss, as they rolled the host club 14-1 on Friday before falling 6-4 and 5-3. Two shutouts highlighted their three games against the Reds, as they enjoyed a 2-0 no-hitter on Tuesday and a 5-4 win on Wednesday before Cincinnati fired a 3-0 shutout to avoid the sweep on Thursday.
The Indians (20-16) wrapped up a seven-game homestand with a 4-3 record. After starting the series with the Seattle Mariners with two late-inning wins, they fell into a funk at the plate and scored just one run over the next three games in dropping the finale with the M’s and the first two games of four with the Chicago White Sox. They recovered in the back half of the series, posting 5-3 and 5-0 victories to leave town with a winning set at home.
Sunday, May 12, 4:07 PM ET
RHP Jefry Rodriguez (0-2, 2.41) vs. TBD
TV: Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); MLB.tv (all); NBCSCA (5/10, 5/12); FS1 (5/11)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network; KTRB 860, KIQI 1010 (OAK)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES
Mike Clevinger (SP) – 60-day injured list (4/9) – right upper back/Teres major muscle strain
Jon Edwards (RP) – optioned to Triple-A Columbus (5/7)
Corey Kluber (SP) – 10-day injured list (5/3) – non-displaced right ulna fracture
Jefry Rodriguez (SP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (5/7)
Danny Salazar (P) – 60-day injured list (3/24); right shoulder rehab
Bradley Zimmer (OF) – 10-day injured list (3/28); right shoulder rehab
Mark Canha (OF) – 10-day injured list (4/29) – right wrist sprain; on rehab assignment
Jharel Cotton (P) – 60-day injured list (3/17) – recovery from March 2018 Tommy John surgery
Khris Davis (OF) – day-to-day (5/5) – left hip contusion
Marco Estrada (SP) – 10-day injured list (4/17) – lumbar strain
Daniel Gossett (P) – 60-day injured list (2/15) – recovery from August 2018 Tommy John surgery
Chris Herrmann (C) – 60-day injured list (3/19) – recovery from March 2019 right knee surgery
Sean Manaea (SP) – 60-day injured list (2/13) – recovery from September 2018 left shoulder surgery
Nick Martini (OF) – 10-day injured list (3/17) – right knee sprain; on rehab assignment
A’S LOOKING UP FROM THE BOTTOM
In a tough American League West, few would have thought the A’s would be sitting at the bottom of the division after finding a way to surprise yearly. Injuries, however, have tapped the roster of some key names and have forced the club to dig deep to fill some starting rotation voids.
The Athletics are a team that relies on the extra base hit at the plate and tends not to generate too much of its offense with aggressiveness on the base paths. They have 62 doubles and 50 homers in 40 games, putting them in the middle of the pack in the AL. They do not rely on the bunt, as they are one of just two teams in the league without one this season (in a long streak dating back to the second half of last season). They have seen the second-most pitches in the league, but it does not necessarily show up in their walk or strikeout rates. They are in the top third in the league in free passes, but in the middle of the pack on their Ks.
The Oakland offense has been driven by several key weapons this season, starting with perennial bomber Khris Davis. Dealing with a left hip injury, he was out of the lineup for his last game, but enters the series as the team leader in homers (10) and RBI (26). The rest of his contributions have been thin, as he has hit .227 with a .306 on-base percentage and a .477 slugging in 36 games this season.
Marcus Semien is the team’s leading hitter at .289 and was among the best in the game in April. He is tops on the club in hits with 43, adding eight doubles and four homers to his contributions. He has also drawn nearly the same number of walks (24) as he has strikeouts (25). After a strong start to his campaign, he has cooled off some in the first week and a half of May, batting just .185 with five singles and eight walks in 35 trips this month.
Matt Chapman has been the biggest extra base hit threat on the team. He enters the series with Cleveland with ten doubles, a triple, and nine home runs with 22 runs batted in. The sure-handed Gold Glover at third and typical three hitter for the team has hit .275 on the season in 39 games with a .364 OBP and .549 slugging mark.
Ramon Laureano has made several highlight reel catches this season, but at the plate, it has been a slow go. He has a .233/.290/.331 slash in 38 games with four doubles, three homers, and 12 RBI. He has struck out 40 times (tops on the team) and walked just eight times.
TRIBE STILL SEEKING CONSISTENCY
Carlos Santana has run into some hitless stretches over the last couple of weeks and one of those came during the team’s notable offensive drought to start the week. Santana was 0-for-10 from Sunday to Tuesday and the Indians managed just a run on a small hit total. He has been the main weapon in the Tribe lineup this season and carried an average well over the .300 mark up until Tuesday, when his average fell below that mark for the first time since the second game of the season.
Jose Ramirez has very quietly put up some consistent numbers for the Tribe of late. While it does not reflect significantly due to the extent of his season opening slump, he has been able to pull his batting average back above the Mendoza line during a lengthy on-base streak. He will enter the series with an active 18-game on-base streak, with seven of the last eight coming via hit. Through his first 36 games, he is now at .206/.297/.316 with six doubles, three homers, and 11 RBI.
During his on-base streak (dating back to the start of the team’s series with the Atlanta Braves on April 20), Ramirez has put up a much more appropriate .269/.388/.403 line at the plate with three doubles, two homers, and eight RBI. He has walked (12) more than struck out (11) in that stretch and has picked off four bases in five attempts. It has also included his impressive and needed walk-off two-run home run in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game with the White Sox.
Francisco Lindor may be putting it together at the plate. Since his final game of April, he has hit .303 with a .395 OBP and a .424 slugging mark with a double, a homer, and two RBI while drawing five walks. Still kicking off rust and dealing with any final lingering issues from his spring training injuries, he is providing the club with a consistent piece to the lineup, something that has been lacking throughout the early portion of the season for the Indians.
SEARCHING FOR THE WINDY CITY
The Indians will pack up and go quickly once again at the completion of their three-game set in Oakland. They will hop back across the country to the Midwest, where they will face the White Sox in a two-game set beginning Monday night before coming back home during a heavy home schedule for the month of May.
The A’s will take to the road with their six-game Ohio series complete from Rickey Henderson Field, heading up the coastline to Seattle for a two-day stay in Washington.
Photo: Jason O. Watson/Getty Images