Cleveland Indians vs. Oakland Athletics Series Preview, Predictions
After an up and down first half of the MLB season, the Cleveland Indians are in Oakland to begin the second half. The Indians are not likely to be favored much this weekend as the Athletics are once again a playoff contender.
The Indians bring a 45-42 record into this series, and they remain in second place in the AL Central. After keeping pressure on the Chicago White Sox for much of the season, the Indians are starting to fall off the pace.
Oakland has gone 52-40 so far this season, and they remain a threat to win the American League West. The Houston Astros are the favorites in that division, but the Athletics are still within striking distance.
Injuries Affecting Indians Rotation
When Shane Bieber and Aaron Civale went down with injuries this season, it really affected the starting rotation. The Indians just don't have much depth on the pitching staff, and getting outs has been a challenge since the start of June.
The Indians now have a team ERA of 4.42, and that number will need to improve in the second half. Eli Morgan takes the ball in the series opener, and that will put pressure on the offense to deliver.
Jose Ramirez leads the team with 19 home runs and 52 RBIs, but he can't be a one-man show on offense. The Indians are still looking for a player to hit early in the lineup to set the tone for the offense.
Athletics Continue to Win
The overall numbers for the Oakland Athletics won't blow you away, but this team knows how to win. Oakland was scuffling a bit in the month of June, but they are always tough to beat in their home park.
Chris Bassitt is expected to start the series opener, and that is bad news for the Indians. Bassitt has gone 10-2 with a 3.28 ERA this season and won't make things easy for the Cleveland offense.
Matt Olson leads the Athletics in nearly every single offensive category, with 23 home runs and 59 RBIs on the year. There are some holes in the Athletics lineup, but finding a way to get Olson out will be a huge key.
Going to be a Challenge
Without Bieber and Civale available to pitch in this series, Cleveland is going to struggle to get outs. That's going to be a problem in Oakland as the Athletics continue to find ways to score runs.
The Athletics don't have a great pitching staff, and that will give the Indians a chance to score. Jose Ramirez will likely lead the way, but he is going to need some help on offense.
Winning a game in Oakland is an absolute must for the Indians, but picking up a pair of wins or a sweep would be a huge confidence boost. Cleveland is going to have to play extremely well, but this team always seems to respond when they are counted out.
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