Naturally, my Game Thread Previews typically revolve around who happens to be on the mound for Oakland. If this were any other team, we would likely examine Sean Manaea's most recent two starts--both victories--against Boston and New York in which he tossed 12 innings of solid baseball, allowing just 2 earned runs (0.83 WHIP) and how his performance today will play a large role into whether or not the A's break their 4-game losing streak.
Manaea apparently also has a streak of 14 consecutive games in which he has allowed five or fewer hits while pitching two or more innings, which is apparently a thing, and a thing that hasn't happened in the American League since 1913.
Instead, we all know that this game is largely dependent on how precise Mike Clevinger is and if any Oakland hitters are able to hit his (or anyone else's) curve ball. Last night, Trevor Bauer came into the second game of the series with a career-worst 6.30 ERA but a career-best strikeout rate (10.4 K/9) and left the ballgame having struck out 14 A's hitters in just 7 frames en route to an Indians victory. At one point, Bauer had struck out 10 of 12 Oakland hitters.
Like Bauer, Clevinger has a solid curve ball that he has effectively mixed in en route to a 2-1 record, 2.82 ERA, and the highest strikeout ratio of his career (10.1 K/9). He'll be making his 15th career start--his very first against Oakland--at Progressive Field today.
If there's one takeaway from Clevinger, it's that he's inexperienced and has been prone to walks--especially at Progressive Field--where he has his lowest K/BB ratio at 1.48 (37 strikeouts to 25 walks). If Oakland hitters are patient, can draw a couple of walks, and make use (somehow) of timely hits, they could get to the young right-hander.
The lineup looks quite a bit different for the 46th consecutive game. If anyone questioned the use of Rajai Davis and Trevor Plouffe up top will enjoy Matt Joyce's .288 on-base percentage in the lead-off spot. He's hit lead-off for the A's a few times so far this season to the tune of a .125/.237/.250 slash in 32 ABs.
The only A's batters in the lineup that have faced Clevinger are Ryon Healy, Chad Pinder, and Khris Davis, and they've each had 1 at-bat. Healy's resulted in a base hit.
Who knows, right?
First pitch is 3:10pm PST.
|OAKLAND A'S||CLEVELAND INDIANS|
|Matt Joyce - RF||Jason Kipnis - 2B|
|Mark Canha - CF||Francisco Lindor - SS|
|Jed Lowrie - 2B||Michael Brantley - LF|
|Khris Davis - LF||Carlos Santana - 1B|
|Yonder Alonso - 1B||Edwin Encarnacion - DH|
|Ryon Healy - DH||Jose Ramirez - 3B|
|Stephen Vogt - C||Austin Jackson - CF|
|Trevor Plouffe - 3B||Yan Gomes - C|
|Chad Pinder - SS||Daniel Robertson - RF|
|Sean Manaea - LHP||Mike Clevinger - RHP|