American League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, August 18th (All times Eastern)
Cleveland Indians (54-65) at Oakland Athletics (63-55), 9:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Cleveland - Corey Kluber (0-1, 8.56) Oakland - Bartolo Colon (9-9, 3.55)
(Sports Network) - The Oakland Athletics will continue their playoff push tonight as they host the Cleveland Indians for the second segment of their three-game set at the Coliseum.
Oakland is just one-half game behind Baltimore and Detroit for the second Wild Card spot in this season's close playoff race. The A's won their second game in a row on Friday as they downed Cleveland, 6-4, in the opening game of the series.
Josh Donaldson came up in the clutch in just his third stint in the majors to help Oakland rally to a victory with a tie-breaking RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning that put his team up for good. Donaldson went 4-for-4 with two doubles and the same number of RBI in the contest to raise his batting average to .196.
Catcher Derek Norris added an RBI and Cliff Pennington drove in two to give the Athletics some pop at the bottom of their lineup.
A's left-hander Tommy Milone gave up a grand slam but avoided a loss with a no-decision. Manager Bob Melvin was pleased with his starter's performance with the exception of the one pitch that caused four runs.
Melvin hopes to get an even stronger showing from his starter tonight as Bartolo Colon takes the mound in search of his 10th win of the season. The veteran right-hander had an impressive three-game winning streak in which he did not allow a run and struck out 13 batters, but that momentum ended when he surrendered five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning in a loss to the White Sox on Sunday.
"They were making better contact, seeing the ball better," Colon said through a translator after the loss. "Too many fastballs in that inning. Everyone knows I'm a fastball pitcher. Some were a bit up, and they were looking for it."
Colon, who began his MLB career with Cleveland in 1997, gave up just two hits in 6 2/3 innings as a member of the Yankees in a 4-0 win over the Indians in his only start versus the Indians since 2009.
Corey Kluber began his MLB career in 2011 with Cleveland. The beginning stages of his run with the team have not been too promising. Kluber was pulled in the fourth inning his last time out after giving up six runs and seven hits to the Red Sox in what turned into a 14-1 rout. The right-hander was called up in early August and made three starts since. He enters Saturday with an 8.56 ERA after being hit around in his three career starts.
"Kluber just didn't have command of his fastball," Indians manager Manny Acta said after Sunday's blowout loss to Boston. "It was up in the zone. Everything was up. He didn't establish it and he wasn't able to use that swing-and-miss slider that he has. It put us in a bind there."
The Indians collectively struck out 11 times in Friday's loss. Shelley Duncan's grand slam was the sole source of offense for Cleveland. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera went 2-for-4 with a double, but the struggling Shin-Soo Choo was unable to follow his lead. Choo is just 2-for-23 with 10 strikeouts in his past seven games.
Although facing a seasoned veteran, none of Cleveland's active players have more than eight at-bats against Colon.
Oakland is 35-26 at home this season and trails Texas by five games for the AL West lead.
08/18 10:34:26 ET