Based on their activity prior to Friday’s trade deadline, neither the Cleveland Indians nor the Oakland Athletics see themselves as serious playoff contenders. However, that won’t prevent both from expecting the best from their respective rosters.
After earning a needed victory to conclude a miserable homestand, the Indians try to extend the Athletics’ latest rough stretch Thursday night.
Cleveland (46-54) was outscored 37-10 while losing six straight and falling to the bottom of the AL Central before ending its seven-game home stretch with Wednesday’s 12-1 rout of Kansas City.
"It was very important for us to get our confidence back," said rookie shortstop Francisco Lindor, had a three-run homer and four RBIs. "We’ll take the things we did the right way and try to do it again (Thursday)."
While Corey Kluber went the distance, the Indians matched a season high with 18 hits to snap an eight-game home skid.
"I think we needed it on a number of fronts," manager Terry Francona told MLB’s official website. "We needed that. That’ll help us."
Though Cleveland traded outfielder David Murphy to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday and general manager Chris Antonetti might not be done dealing, he isn’t expected to break up the club’s starting rotation.
Carlos Carrasco (10-8, 4.26 ERA) leads the team in wins and is 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA in his last four road starts, but he allowed a season-high six runs in four innings of Saturday’s 10-3 home loss to the Chicago White Sox.
The right-hander has a 3.27 ERA without a decision in two starts against the A’s (45-57) – both in Cleveland – after giving up two runs and striking out seven in seven innings of a 5-4 loss July 11.
Cleveland is 20-32 at home but 26-22 on the road, where it has won eight of 12. The Indians have dropped five of six overall to the A’s, but those all came at home.
Oakland carried a three-run lead into the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday before falling 10-7, its fifth loss in six games. While the A’s have the second-worst record in the AL and have traded Scott Kazmir, Tyler Clippard and Ben Zobrist over a six-day span, they don’t expect their effort to wane.
"Doesn’t matter who’s out there, who’s in the clubhouse, who’s not," ace Sonny Gray said. "When the game starts, it’s 25 guys out there, and you’re just trying to win a baseball game. I don’t think that’s going to change for us. We’re going to go out there and we’re going to compete and we’re going to battle, and try to win as many games as we can."
Chris Bassitt (0-3, 2.94) gave up two runs in a season-high 6 1-3 innings opposite Carrasco on July 11. The right-hander was sent back to Triple-A Nashville after that game but was recalled Saturday, yielding two runs through six innings of Saturday’s 2-1 loss at San Francisco.
Bassitt, whose only major league win came Sept. 22 with the White Sox, has received a combined four runs of support in four starts for Oakland.
Rookie Giovanny Urshela went 2 for 3 with a double against Bassitt this month and has batted .370 in his last eight contests.
Oakland’s Josh Reddick, batting .414 in the last nine games, is 5 for 5 with a double and a home run against Carrasco.
Teammate Brett Lawrie was 3 for 23 in the six games prior to going 4 for 5 with a homer and four RBIs on Wednesday.