The Cleveland Guardians are still searching for a victory on their 10-game trip as they enter the eighth contest in the stretch.
The Guardians have scored two or fewer runs on five occasions during the excursion and hope to end their seven-game slide when they visit the Oakland Athletics on Friday night in the opener of a three-game set.
Cleveland had just four hits in Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, who concluded a four-game sweep. The run came on a homer by Austin Hedges.
Guardians manager Terry Francona is well aware the production needs to pick up.
“Sometimes, we hit some balls hard at people,” he told reporters. “We’re going to have to continue doing that and not fall into feeling sorry for ourselves and keep battling, because that’s the only way that it’ll get better.”
Cleveland is averaging just two runs per game during a trip that began with three games at the New York Yankees before the team traveled to the West Coast without a day off.
The troubles have come after an impressive three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox in which Cleveland scored 19 runs and allowed just five.
But during the trip, the Guardians have lost by three or more runs in six of the seven contests.
“It’s definitely not fun,” Cleveland outfielder Myles Straw said. “None of us want to be going through this, but it’s a weird sport. I think we’re going to come around, come together and be just fine.”
Now the Guardians will face the Athletics, who have shutout victories in two of their past three games.
The latest was Wednesday’s 1-0 road victory over the San Francisco Giants. Chad Pinder led off the game with a homer, and six Oakland pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout.
Right-hander Dany Jimenez recorded the final three outs for his fourth save. The 28-year-old journeyman hasn’t allowed a run in eight innings.
“The bullpen has done an exceptional job,” Athletics manager Mark Kotsay told reporters. “We talked about giving these guys a soft landing into the big leagues. They’ve obviously built some confidence through this process. There’s been some success down there for a lot of guys and, hopefully, we can continue this momentum.”
Oakland will send right-hander Frankie Montas to the mound in the opener. Montas (2-2, 3.28 ERA) is holding opposing batters to a .180 average.
The 29-year-old was roughed up for five runs in five innings while losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in his first outing of the season. Since then, he has allowed just four earned runs and 10 hits in 19 2/3 innings.
Montas lost to the Texas Rangers on Saturday despite allowing just two runs and three hits over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked one.
Montas is 1-2 with a 2.62 ERA in eight career appearances (five starts) against the Guardians. Jose Ramirez is 4-for-13 against Montas while Straw is hitless in seven at-bats.
Cleveland will counter with right-hander Aaron Civale (0-2, 9.58), who has allowed 15 hits and walked five in just 10 1/3 innings.
The 26-year-old Civale has pitched four innings or less in all three of his starts. He was roughed up for six runs and seven hits in three innings during Sunday’s 10-2 loss to the Yankees.
Civale has never faced the Athletics. The only current Oakland batter he has seen is Elvis Andrus, who is 2-for-3 with a triple against him.
–Field Level Media