The standings show Oakland and Cleveland are among the AL’s worst teams, but the A’s haven’t played like it lately.
Oakland will try to earn its sixth straight victory and hand the Indians their season-high seventh consecutive loss on Saturday.
The A’s (69-78) matched a season high with their fourth straight home victory in Friday night’s 2-1 win over the Indians, who dropped to 0-5 on their seven-game swing and lost their ninth in a row on the road.
While Cleveland is stumbling down the stretch, Oakland has launched a late run toward respectability.
The A’s have averaged 5.8 runs and are batting .303 in their last 12 games. Rajai Davis(notes), who stole his 40th base Friday, has led the way by hitting .423 during that stretch, and Cliff Pennington(notes) has batted .419.
Oakland hasn’t committed an error in seven consecutive games to match a season high, and A’s pitchers have posted a 2.40 ERA over the last 11 contests.
However, Gio Gonzalez(notes) (5-6, 6.31 ERA), who is slated to start for Oakland, hasn’t contributed much to that total. The left-hander lost for the fourth time in six outings after he was tagged for seven runs and eight hits over three innings of Sunday’s 8-0 loss in Minnesota.
“He didn’t throw his type of game that he needed to,” manager Bob Geren told the Athletics’ official Web site.
Gonzalez is 1-4 with a 7.55 ERA in his last six starts, but won in his previous outing at home by allowing two runs and six hits over a career-high seven innings of a 5-2 victory over Seattle on Sept. 6.
Gonzalez was victorious in his only start against Cleveland on July 5 by yielding two runs and six hits with eight strikeouts over six innings of the 7-2 triumph.
He has a good shot at another victory as the Indians (61-86) have lost 15 of 18 overall and are one game in front of last-place Kansas City in the AL Central.
They will turn to Jeremy Sowers(notes) (6-9, 4.49), who is searching for his third straight win. The left-hander is 2-0 with a 3.28 ERA in his last four starts, but he didn’t get a decision Monday despite tossing seven scoreless innings in a 6-3 loss at Minnesota.
He will make his first start against Oakland, but could use some better support as Cleveland has been outscored 32-13 over the past six games while batting .215.
“Obviously, we’re struggling offensively right now,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We need to take advantage of whenever we do create opportunities.”
The teams have split 14 games dating back to the start of last season, but the A’s are 20-7 at home against the Indians since July 31, 2002.
Oakland hasn’t won five straight at home since May 21-27, 2008. The Indians’ most recent 10-game road slide was from June 22-July 18, 2008.