A’s attempt to sweep Indians with Montas on mound
Oakland, which has won six in a row, allowed five total runs in its last four games.
Right-hander Frankie Montas (4-1, 3.68 ERA) will attempt to continue that run, but will do so in the wake of three consecutive shaky efforts, during which he has allowed 12 earned runs and 24 hits in 15 innings.
The 25-year-old has never started a game against the Indians, but faced them three times in relief, going 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 4 2/3 innings.
One of those bullpen outings against Cleveland came last May, when he gave up two runs in an 8-4 loss.
Montas will have big shoes to fill after the outings by Blackburn and Jackson, who held the Indians to a total of two runs in 13 innings.
With the recent emergence of Blackburn and Jackson and news that Trevor Cahill appears on schedule to return to the starting rotation after the All-Star break, Montas might only have a few opportunities to turn things around before losing his job.
A’s manager Bob Melvin gushed over the performance of Jackson on Saturday in his second straight sharp outing after having been signed off the scrap heap.
“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised,” Melvin said. “That he was available to us was a surprise.”
Having seen the veteran firsthand, the Indians might be wondering why they weren’t the ones who gave the 99-game winner a shot.
Especially with news Saturday that Danny Salazar, a 14- and 11-game winner for the Indians in recent years, will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Monday, putting his season in question.
Right-hander Mike Clevenger (6-3, 3.03), who got a greater opportunity last year while Salazar had health issues and responded with a 12-win season, will attempt to salvage one win in Oakland for the Indians on Sunday.
He has pitched well in his last four starts, allowing six earned runs, but he has never beaten the A’s in his career, going 0-1 with a 7.04 ERA in two games (one start).
The A’s last saw the 27-year-old in a relief role in August 2016 and cuffed him around for four hits and three runs in one inning of a 9-1 victory.
Clevenger will have to hope for more offensive support than the Indians provided Trevor Bauer and Adam Plutko in the first two games of the series. Both pitched well enough to win, allowing five runs and 11 hits in 12 1/3 innings.
The A’s have used the long ball to get the upper hand against the Indians in the first two games. Jed Lowrie, Josh Phegley, Dustin Fowler and Matt Olson all hit homers, accounting for six of Oakland’s 10 runs.