Indians-Athletics Preview

The Oakland Athletics have admittedly been pressing at the plate

recently, but a visit from the Cleveland Indians could help take

the pressure off.

The Athletics open a six-game homestand Friday night with the

first of three against the slumping Indians.

Oakland avoided a three-game sweep at Kansas City with a 3-0 win

Thursday. Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes homered to back rookie

Daniel Straily’s first major league win.

Crisp’s home run in the sixth broke a scoreless tie and came

following an umpire review.

“It felt we were starting to grind a little harder than we

should,” manager Bob Melvin said. “You start digging and it

doesn’t feel like anything is going to happen. At the time, that

was certainly the key hit of the game and it ended up being the key


The Athletics (62-55) scored two runs in the previous two games

of the series and have struck out at least nine times in the last

six games – the longest streak in franchise history.

Part of Oakland’s offensive slump can be traced to Cespedes’

lack of production. His homer Thursday was his first since July 28,

also the date of his most recent extra-base hit.

The Athletics lineup could have an easier time against the

Indians (54-64), who have fallen 10 games below .500, matching a

season high, behind a struggling pitching staff.

Cleveland has dropped 12 of its last 13 road games, with those

12 losses coming by an average of 4.9 runs.

Tommy Milone (9-9, 3.91 ERA) will try to pitch Oakland to a

third straight home win after receiving some extended rest this


After recording a 0.91 ERA through his first eight home starts,

Milone struggled in the last two. He gave up five runs in six

innings of a loss to Tampa Bay on July 31, then allowed six runs in

six innings of a 6-5 defeat to Toronto on Aug. 5.

That was the third straight start overall in which he

surrendered at least five runs.

Looking to rest the rookie left-hander, Oakland pushed back his

start, with Milone originally scheduled to have pitched last


“It’s a mental grind once you get to this time of the year,”

Melvin told the Athletics’ official website. “Tommy’s last few

games haven’t been his best, but it really isn’t about that. We’ve

been looking to potentially do this for a while now.”

Milone faces a Cleveland team that lost the final two games of

its three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels this week.

Roberto Hernandez struggled in his season debut Wednesday,

allowing eight runs over six innings in an 8-4 loss. He wasn’t

helped by his defense, which committed three errors during a

five-run second, including two by recently acquired Brent


“We won the second half of the game. But you have to play nine

innings, and unfortunately the second inning killed us,” manager

Manny Acta said. “Hernandez threw the ball a lot better than his

numbers indicated. He deserved better. But we played terrible

defense behind him.”

The Indians won two of three in Oakland in April and has taken

eight of the last 11 meetings overall.

They’ll turn to Zach McAllister (5-4, 3.46) hoping the

right-hander can win a second consecutive start.

McAllister gave up two runs and three hits over a career-high

eight innings in a 5-2 win over Boston on Saturday. That was in

stark contrast to his previous appearance when he failed to make it

out of the second inning in a 14-3 loss to Minnesota.