Athletics-Indians Preview

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

Saturday.

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.