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.