The Indians have completely turned things around after losing the first two series and have now won two series in a row, winning 4 of their last 5 games. Of course these series have been against a couple of the weaker teams in the American League, but you have to start somewhere. The Tribe is making the short trip down to Oakland next to take on the Athletics for three. Currently Oakland is 7-7 and are having a surprising start as no one thought the Angels would begin the season this poorly.
This may be the first series this year that the Indians patience at the plate will not be an asset. Oakland’s pitching has been tremendous to this point (2.91 team ERA) and they have walked the least amount of hitters in the American League. Offensively the Indians have walked the most. The starting pitchers will be as follows:
Ubaldo will be looking to improve on his last start when he gave up 4 runs in 5 innings. He was even worse than the end results show as he gave up 9 hits and threw 112 pitches, making the bullpen come into the game early. Oakland is currently the worst offensive team in the league with a line of .200/.270/.318 so he should have an easy time getting back to the way he pitched in his first start.
This is Godfrey’s rookie season as he only has 25 innings under his belt to this point. The Indians have never faced this pitcher so it may take a couple times through the lineup for the hitters to get used to him. Looking at his career numbers, he doesn’t really seem to be anything really special, but he does have good control, just like the rest of the A’s pitching staff. Judging by his first two starts, he seems very hittable. He was only able to go 11 total innings against the two teams the Indians just beat, Seattle and Kansas City.
Jeanmar Gomez has had a rough season so far and it’s only getting worse. He has been pitching extremely well, but scheduling issues forced him to miss a start and put him in the bullpen. In his last start he stuck up for Shin-Soo Choo by hitting Mike Moustakas and was ejected. He has since been suspended for the hit batter (Jack Hannahan and Chris Perez have each been fined for the altercation as well) and will be forced to miss another start. Gomez is currently appealing which will allow him to play in this game, after which he will drop the appeal and serve the five game suspension.
The Indians know McCarthy well from his time with the White Sox and Rangers. He has thrown more than 50 innings against the Tribe with an ERA of 4.61. Of the current Indians, Casey Kotchman has the most experience against McCarthy with 13 at bats and a .462 batting average against him. He has made four starts so far this season, due to Oaklands’s early series against Seattle and has pitched well in two of those games (against Seattle and Kansas City). Hopefully the Indians experience against McCarthy will help them get Jeanmar his first win of the season.
The Indians ace will be making his 4th start of the season, which to this point has gotten progressively worse for him. In his last start, Masterson was only able to go 3.2 innings as he gave up 8 runs against Seattle. Justin was having command problems and his pitches just weren’t moving the way they did on opening day when he struck out 10 Blue Jays. These on and off pitching results have been going on since Spring Training. One day he will look like the masterful Masterson of early 2011 and the next he will fall apart like he did last May.
Tyson Ross is another young starter for the A’s. He was converted from relief pitcher to starter last season and performed very well. This will be his second start of 2012 after going 6 innings and allowing only 2 runs against the Angels. The Indians play against him once last year when he allowed one run over 6.1 innings.
Milestone Alert: Travis Hafner‘s next hit will be his 1,000th as a Cleveland Indian and he is two home runs away from being 8th all time.