Last night's game was the ultimate A's fan experience. I didn't get there in time for a bobblehead, and I missed most of the pre-game ceremony, but never mind that. The game was incredible - Colon breezed through 8 innings, Cespedes hit a Cuban Missile, and there was just enough drama at the end without the game ever really being in question. At the end of it all, we camped out on the field and watched Moneyball on a big projector screen in center field. Being able to look over at the right-field bleachers while Chris Pratt hit the game-winning home run was pretty sweet.
Today, the A's come to the park looking for a sweep. After failing to capitalize on an easy match-up in Kansas City, the A's have wasted no time in taking the first two games against a reeling Indians team. The finale will pit Oakland's Jarrod Parker against Cleveland's Justin Masterson.
Parker has struggled lately. He has thrown 142 innings this year (including 20.2 in AAA), which means that he has surpassed his career high (135) and his arm in is uncharted territory. It is not unusual or unexpected to see a rookie struggle in this part of the season; the key is making sure not to let him go so deep into the season as to hurt either his arm, or the team's chances at victory. The time is approaching to make decisions about the rest of Parker's season, as other starters like Anderson and Griffin near their returns from injury. That's for another article, though; the point is that Parker is starting today, and he hasn't been sharp lately.
Luckily, he's facing the Indians, who also haven't been sharp lately. Masterson made one start against Oakland this year, and lost a game in which he walked 6 batters in 5 innings and allowed a homer to Seth Smith. He's had an inconsistent season overall, but his last two starts were pretty good (vs Min, @ LAA, 2 runs in 13 innings combined). Considering that he's inconsistent, and his last two starts were good, a reasonable person would expect him to be bad today, right? That sounds like solid logic. Let's go with it.
Cleveland has a guy named Ezequiel leading off, which would be awesome in a game of Scrabble but isn't that great in a game of baseball. What's that? Ezequiel is hitting .350 in 40 at-bats this season? Cool story, Hansel. Actually, between Ezequiel, Shin-Soo Choo, and Carlos Santana, Cleveland has some pretty cool names in its lineup. Josh Donaldson, who just won't stop hitting, is back in the #2 spot in the order, while Cespedes gets a half-day off as the DH.
Let's Go Sweep!
|Indians (J. Masterson - R) @ Athletics (J. Parker - R)|