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Game Thread #51: A’s at Cleveland

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Following an ice cold, 5-12 slump that began at Rogers Centre last month, the A’s (24-25) are suddenly burning up the pavement and gunning for a series sweep against a solid team: AL Central contenders, the Cleveland Indians (25-22). This morning, your breakfast biscuit includes baseball and we should feel pretty confident that today’s starter for the A’s will bring plenty of juice.

Frankie Montas, who has convinced many observers that he is best in the A’s current rotation, enters today’s contest with a 2.67 ERA. In his last three starts, Frankie has been truly stellar, posting a 2.23 ERA in 20.2 innings with 22 strikeouts and but a solitary base on balls. Montas’ fastball has been sitting north of 95 mph from first pitch to last, and he is breaking out in 2019 with his nasty new splitter. The Indians will counter with Jefry Rodriguez (yes, with one ‘f’, 1-3, 3.45 ERA, 20 K).

Montas seeks his sixth win of the season, and if he hits that target today, the A’s record will be back to .500 on the year. Just one week ago, freshly swept in Seattle, fans lamented that the A’s were six games below .500, at last place in the AL West, and already 10 games behind the Astros. We were still reeling from being on the sullen side of a season sweep against the Blue Jays and the misadventures that followed in Boston (swept in three) and Pittsburgh (lost series, 2-1).

Actually, however, things had already begun to turn around when the A’s headed back to Oakland from Seattle: Matt Olson returned from the IL and rehab on May 7, and the A’s are 9-4 since then. Now, the A’s are on the cusp of win-loss parity, squarely in the middle of the AL West standings, and merely...nine games back of the Astros. The A’s bats seem to have their pop back as of late: they’ve gone long 14 times and produced 39 runs in total during this current five game winning streak.

Hopefully the A’s will extend this winning streak like they did Khrush, who is unfortunately headed for the 10 day IL due to a hip contusion. Mark Canha will fill in as DH.

Let’s go, Oakland!

Today’s lineups: