Two teams in second place in their respective divisions will face off on Sunday when the Oakland Athletics and Cleveland Indians go at it from the Oakland Coliseum. But these squads have very different Wild Card prospects based on their record thus far. These two teams split the first two games of their weekend series, with this matchup set to be the rubber match.
Indians Have Chance to Continue Run
The Cleveland Indians have won four of their last five games heading into this rubber match against the Athletics. Cleveland swept the Kansas City Royals to close out the first half of their season before splitting the first two matchups with Oakland this weekend. But Cleveland will need to overcome a pitching deficit in the final game of this series if they are going to come away with a fifth win in six outings.
Zach Plesac is set to get the start on Sunday for Cleveland, who has a 4-3 record and an ERA over 4.00. He takes the hill against Oakland’s Chris Bassitt, who is an impressive 10-2 thus far on the year. If Plesac can’t avoid trouble early in this game, he may put the Indians in a hole that they aren’t able to get out of.
Oakland Looks for Second Straight Series Win
Just like Cleveland, a win on Sunday would mean a second straight series victory for the Oakland Athletics. Oakland closed out the first half of the season by taking two of three from the lowly Texas Rangers. But the Athletics will face a tougher challenge in trying to seal this series against Cleveland than they did against Texas.
For Oakland, Bassitt will look to improve to 11-2 on the year, but some of his statistical outputs this season look very similar to that of Plesac despite his superior number in the win column on the year. While Bassitt has a better record and ERA, his WHIP is identical over a higher number of innings. This matchup could very well see Bassitt face similar jams to that of Plesac, which could make this game anyone’s to claim.
With pitching being a team effort, Oakland has received contributions from both their starters and their bullpen of late. The Athletics have gone seven straight games without allowing five runs or more. If they can extend that streak to eight straight games against Cleveland, they have a very good chance of winning their second straight series as they look to remain in a Wild Card position.
Indians An Attractive Underdog
While the win column has certainly favored both Bassitt and the Athletics in this matchup, the pitching stats between the two starters in this matchup are very similar. That makes Cleveland a live dog in this matchup, as they should be able to stay in contention heading into the late innings. Take the Indians at plus money here, as this will likely become a two or three-inning contest, where it will be anyone’s game.