Series Preview: Cleveland Indians at Oakland Athletics

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Pitching Matchups

Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Our boy Zach dazzled the Red Sox his last time out, eight innings of two-run ball and he was in command the whole way. As we’ll see with some of the pitchers the A’s have, sometimes a quality arm comes from nowhere. His August was pretty forgettable before that (7.04 ERA in two losses) but Oakland is a pitcher’s paradise. He’s been up and down all year, so we’ll see what we get. There’s a lot of promise in McAllister, and even if he’ll never be an ace, there’s an excellent chance he’ll be a mid-rotation starter in 2013.

Tommy Milone is one of those young arms I mentioned earlier that Billy Beane has been stockpiling. Despite both Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden being out for the season pretty, much, the A’s have pieced together a mighty good rotation. The rookie is logging a 3.91 ERA backed up by a 4.01 SIERA, and he doesn’t walk many people (1.4 per nine). He’s listed as the Athletics third starter and that’s just how his stats read—give the team a chance and minimize chances for the other guys. He was part of the Gio Gonzalez trade with Washington and judging from early returns it looks like everyone is something resembling a winner. Oh yeah, Milone is left-handed, and despite the win the Tribe got over a much better lefty in C.J. Wilson, we have to be wary here. Unknown lefty is a dangerous blend for our boys.

Game Two: Corey Kluber (0-2, 8.56 ERA, 4.18 SIERA) vs.Bartolo Colon (9-9, 3.55 ERA, 4.18 SIERA)

This will be Kluber’s fourth start of the season, so far he’s thrown 13 ⅔ innings. For those scoring at home, that’s less than five an outing—not what you want out of your starter. He gave up six runs in less than four innings versus the Red Sox his last time out, just feeding Boston cookies all day. He’s got an arm on him though, a four-seamer sitting around 93 along with a sinker at 92 and a complementary change up. He’s just young and needs to learn pitching a bit more, he can’t just try to blow people away here. Like Zach though, the Coliseum should be his friend. He’s faced Coco Crisp and Cliff Pennington and given up a hit each and three RBI’s, but that’s it. So naturally, he’ll throw a no-hitter. (Annnndd…. jinxed.)

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

The Cleveland Indians will be forever thankful to Bartolo Colon. He was the piece that brought Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore among others over from the Expos, so none of us can be mad. It’s nice he found his form again after that mysterious shoulder surgery before the 2011 season, and he’s doing well again in Oakland. Second on the depth chart behind Brandon McCarthy, Colon is pitching like he always has with a 4.18 SIERA (4.21 career). Though his stamina may lack in the hot summer sun at times, for whatever reason, Bartolo is a fine pitcher with a good grasp of his own stuff and how to get guys out. For people who like a well-pitched game, he’s the guy to look for in this series.

Though the season might be coming to a premature end (never give up!) Justin Masterson did wonders for the morale of his team and fans his last time out. Heck, his last two starts have been ace-like—a combined 13 innings with two earned runs, 11 K’s and nine hits. He’s walked seven in that time, but that’s been his thing this year. It’s stil; strange he’s walking over one more per nine than last year, but if this is what it takes for him to forge himself into a total pitcher, so be it. In 27 career innings against the A’s he’s got a 6.00 ERA with a 1.70 WHIP and is somehow even worse in Oakland, the usually punchless Athletics holding a .919 OPS against him at home. Maybe now that they can actually hit, he’ll shut them down. Baseball is weird.

Jarrod Parker is 23, and just gave me a bit of an existential crisis. But anyway, he’s also been pretty good in his rookie year with a 106 ERA+. He’s struck out 95 in 121 innings this year though he’s outperforming his 4.29 SIERA a bit and could be due for some regression down the road. Still, his four- and two-seamers sit at 92 and he’s got a decent curve and change. Like other youngsters on this A’s staff he induces a lot of grounders (1.51 GB/FB) which bucks the theory they’d take advantage of that expanse in the outfield. It’s better if you want to be successful in other parks though, so there’s that.

For me, there’s always something special about the Athletics. Maybe it’s my father’s fascination with Connie Mack, maybe it’s that they’ve always played spoiler, whether it’s winning despite no money or making good teams look like crap when they come to that massive park, maybe it’s their stylish uniforms. It could also be they play in the same place as my favorite football team but who knows. They’re good this year and it’s always fun when they’re doing well—if nothing else those white shoes they wear sometimes are just boss. If the Indians couldn’t play spoiler in Anaheim though, why not mess up Oakland’s day? Gotta make someone frown.

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Tags: Bartolo Colon Brent Lillibridge Cleveland Indians Josh Reddick Oakland Athletics Tommy Milone Yoenis Cespedes

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