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Series #17: Athletics at Indians - Test on the Road

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

It was only a little over a week ago that the A’s played the Indians at home, winning the first two games of the series before dropping the final game late in the finale. After that defeat, the A’s embarked on what has been a six game road trip with mixed results. The trip began with a couple of frustrating defeats at the hands of division rival Mariners, but the team bounced back with a trouncing of the Tigers for three and a half games.

Meanwhile, Cleveland went to Chicago and split a short two game series, and then the Indians went home prior to kicking the Orioles around for three of four games. The Indians are in second place and are now starting to pull away from the the bottom half of the division, with a four game cushion over the third place White Sox. However, thanks to a red-hot start from the Twins, who currently possess the second best record in all of baseball, the Indians trail first place by four and a half games.

The Indians are still one of the weaker hitting teams right now, with a team OPS of .673, third worst in the AL ahead of the Tigers and the Blue Jays. But, thanks in some small part to playing against some of the AL’s weaker competition, things have been looking better this last week, the team scoring forty runs over the last six games. Leading the way is none other than Francisco Lindor, who has hit four extra base hits, walked more than he struck out, and stolen two bases without getting caught this week while batting at the top of the lineup. Carlos Santana has been hitting for average and power, batting .333/.481/.714 this week. Jason Kipnis, who has begun this season marred in a terrible slump, is OPSing .954 over the last week and has a team leading seven RsBI.

Shane Bieber has tossed back-to-back superb starts, and despite allowing an uncharacteristic four home runs, managed to strike out twenty one batters while walking zero in those starts. Carlos Carrasco tossed seven shutout innings in his last effort, also with zero walks. The start extended his scoreless innings streak to twelve. Trevor Bauer, conversely, was shaky in his last start, despite facing the Orioles, allowing seven runs in five innings pitched, with four walks compared to just three strikeouts and two home runs allowed.

Not to be ignored is the Indians’ bullpen, which has allowed just one walk and was scored upon precisely one time in the last week. Oliver Perez, the ageless wonder, has been leading the unit with three innings pitched and seven strikeouts.

The A’s starting rotation has been bouncing back following an abysmal start to the year, while the bullpen, surprisingly, has been the primary source of pain for A’s fans. With the lineup fully healthy (apart from the day-to-day Khris Davis), the A’s and Indians aren’t too far apart on paper, and this should be a competitive series.

Potential Lineup

Francisco Lindor - SS

Jason Kipnis - 2B

Carlos Santana - 1B

Jordan Luplow - RF

Jose Ramirez - 3B

Roberto Perez - C

Carlos Gonzalez - DH

Oscar Mercado - LF

Leonys Martin - CF

Pitching Matchups

Brett Anderson vs Carlos Carrasco

Chris Bassitt vs Trevor Bauer

Frankie Montas vs Jefry Rodriguez

Game Information

Game #48: Monday, May 20th at 3:10

Game #49: Tuesday, May 21st at 3:10

Game #50: Wednesday, May 22nd at 10:10

The games on Monday and Tuesday will be broadcast on NBCSCA. Wednesday’s game will be an Indians’ only broadcast, with out of market viewers able to watch on MLB Network.