Justin Masterson had another rough outing and the Tribe’s bats couldn’t get anything going against Jarrod Parker Sunday afternoon as the Athletics completed a three-game sweep with a 7-0 shutout of Cleveland. The loss was the team’s fifth straight as the Indians fell to 54-67 and slipped into fourth place in the AL Central.
After a couple frames of mutual shutout ball, Oakland opened the scoring in the bottom of the third. Masterson beaned shortstop Cliff Pennington to start the inning. Jemile Weeks bunted him to second, and former Indian Coco Crisp delivered with an RBI single to put the A’s on the board. Brandon Moss‘ two-out solo home run in the bottom of fourth then made it a 2-0 game.
Things really got out of hand in the bottom of the fifth. Pennington and Weeks led off the inning with back-to-back singles to put two on with nobody out for Crisp, who came through with a three-run homer—it took only three pitches for the A’s to put a three-spot on the scoreboard. The Athletics then got a pair of insurance runs in the sixth as Weeks knocked Masterson out of the game with an RBI double and Crisp welcomed reliever Esmil Rogers with a run-scoring base hit.
And that was all she wrote. Parker held the Indians scoreless through eight innings and Ryan Cook threw a perfect ninth as the A’s cruised to a 7-0 win and the series sweep.
The Good: Shin-Soo Choo and Casey Kotchman both went 2-for-4. And for all the talk about Chris Perez‘ alleged inability to pitch in non-save situations, he threw a perfect eighth inning and got a strikeout.
The Bad: Basically everything else about this game. Let’s start with the pitching: Justin Masterson didn’t have it at all. He got roughed up for seven runs (all earned) on nine hits, including two home runs. He struck out five in 5.2 innings pitched, which is a good sign, though he also allowed a walk and hit a batter.
Then there’s the offense. Jarrod Parker is a good pitcher with a lot of talent, but he’s prone to allowing free passes and he’s got a strikeout-to-walk ratio of under two. In other words, the Tribe basically got dominated by a pitcher who isn’t that dominating.
The “Huh?”: Oakland starters Bartolo Colon and Jarrod Parker held the Indians to a combined one run in 16 innings pitched this weekend despite striking out only five batters. It’s one thing to get blown away by a great pitching staff, but how are the Indians so struggling to score against starters who haven’t been finding strike three?
Interesting Tidbit: The Oakland A’s just have Justin Masterson’s number. He’s now 1-4 with a 6.89 ERA in nine games against the Athletics in his career. The only team against whom he’s allowed a worse ERA is the Tampa Bay Rays (7.74 in 13 outings).