Oakland fell to the Cleveland Indians 5-4 in Game 2 of its three game series at Progressive Field, but the team has still won six of its last eight games.  The Athletics also missed out on trying to sweep an opponent on the road for the first time this season.  Manager Bob Geren’s club still leads the season series with the Indians 3-2 and have held the Tribe scoreless in all three victories.  The team is currently third in the American League West standings, trailing the Texas Rangers by nine games.  Entering the finale of their six-game road trip, the Athletics have produced a 3-2 record against Baltimore and Cleveland.  The team stands at 16-26 on the road, while allowing the most road home runs in the AL (62).  In 28 day games, the team has recorded an 18-10 record while the total is 7-19-2 (O/U).  It’s a surprising record due to the team averaging just 3.7 runs under the sun, but they are holding opponents to just 3.2 runs and a .236 combined batting average.

Athletics starter Vin Mazzaro has followed suit in the pitching staff producing better daytime numbers than at night this season.  The right-hander has a 3.86 ERA in day games as opposed to a 4.74 mark at night.  The Athletics bring baseball’s best ERA in day games at 2.92, while compiling a 4.40 ERA at night.  He was the winning pitcher in the club’s 4-2 win at Baltimore on Tuesday, allowing just three hits and a run, but also issued a career-high six free passes.  Mazzaro stands at 2-1 with a 4.43 ERA in five road appearances (three starts) this season despite issuing more walks (14) than strikeouts (10).  He stands at 2-2 with a 4.22 ERA and .237 opponents batting average as a starter compared to a 1-0 mark and 4.35 ERA and .409 opponents average in three relief appearances.

Cleveland stands at 5-1 on its current homestand after picking up the middle game of this series and coming off a three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays.  The Tribe will have a tough time in picking up a victory this afternoon, losing slugger Shin-Soo Choo to the disabled list with an injured right thumb. He was leading the Indians with 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 78 games.  Slugger Matt LaPorta has been picking up the slack, batting .360 with three home runs and seven RBI in seven games since being recalled from Triple-A.  Cleveland stands at 20-33 against right-handed starters this season (-870), averaging 4.1 runs and combined to hit .239.  Over the past seven games, the Indians have managed to score just 3.7 runs, but have held opponents to 2.4 runs and an incredible .197 average.

Indians starting pitcher Fausto Carmona will be making his 17th career start, while improving to 7-6 in his last start with a 5-4 win over the Blue Jays.  He recorded 13 groundouts in the game, which is exactly what the club wants to see.  “I used the sinker, some sliders, and had a very good defense behind me,” Carmona said.  He has won three of his last four starts, going 3-1 with a 4.26 ERA over that span.  He currently stands at 7-6 with a 3.68 ERA on the year, while going at least five innings in 15 of 16 starts this year.  The right-hander has made eight career appearances (seven starts) against the Athletics, going 3-3 with a 5.87 ERA.

Bettors are going to have a hard time not backing the road underdog Athletics in this contest, but the team’s 2-11 mark as a road underdog of +110  to +150 leaves a lot to be desired.  Cleveland more than likely will start feeling the impact of not having Choo in the lineup, while the team is 3-11 in Carmona’s last 14 starts versus the American League West.