With one of their starters serving a lengthy suspension, the
playoff-contending Oakland Athletics could use some more solid
pitching performances. Brett Anderson will try to provide another
such effort in his second start back from Tommy John surgery.
After a successful return last week, Anderson will get the ball
for the A’s in Monday night’s opener of a four-game road series
against the sputtering Cleveland Indians.
Oakland (69-57) has helped itself in the AL wild-card race by
winning eight of 10, thanks in part to a 2.93 staff ERA over that
stretch. The A’s took two of three at fellow wild-card contender
Tampa Bay in a series that concluded with a 4-2 victory
After getting a rare Sunday off as the Tampa region prepared for
the Republican National Convention, Oakland will try to add to the
Indians’ woes with help from Anderson (1-0, 1.29 ERA). The series
against Cleveland is among seven straight games for the Athletics
against sub-.500 teams.
Oakland will try to take advantage of those matchups before
facing playoff contenders – Baltimore, Detroit, Los Angeles, New
York and Texas – in 23 of its final 29 regular-season contests.
“Every series is important. Every game is important,” manager
Bob Melvin told the team’s official website. “If we start thinking
about what could transpire two, three weeks from now, those are
distractions we don’t need to be thinking about.”
In his first start since June 2011, Anderson gave up one run and
four hits over seven innings of Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Minnesota,
walking none and striking out six.
“I don’t think I could have scripted a better performance, all
things considered,” he said. “The big thing is helping the team win
a ballgame, and hopefully I can continue to do that.”
The A’s could use more strong performances from Anderson after
former AL Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon was suspended 50
games Wednesday after a positive test for testosterone. In his
second start, the left-hander may benefit from facing the Indians
(55-72), who have dropped 10 of 11 and 23 of 28.
Cleveland has been outscored 28-11 over its last seven contests
after a 4-2 loss to the Yankees on Sunday.
“We just need to show up (Monday) and worry about that game,”
manager Manny Acta said.
Indians starter Roberto Hernandez (0-2, 6.75) will again seek
his first win since returning from a major league suspension for
using a false identity.
The right-hander, who pitched under the pseudonym Fausto Carmona
for six seasons, has lost both of his starts since returning to the
majors. He gave up four runs, three hits and two walks over six
innings of Tuesday’s 5-1 loss at Seattle.
Hernandez, who will make his first start at Progressive Field
since Sept. 25, is 0-4 with a 5.09 ERA in his last four home
matchups with Oakland.
Anderson, who is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in three career outings
against Cleveland, will try to lead the A’s to their fifth straight
win in the series. Oakland swept three home games with the Indians
from Aug. 17-19.