A’s hope to turn the tide against dominant Guardians

Apr 20, 2024, 5:16 AM | Updated: 8:26 am

Second baseman Zack Gelof #20 of the Oakland Athletics tags out José Ramírez #11 of the Cleveland...

CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 19: Second baseman Zack Gelof #20 of the Oakland Athletics tags out José Ramírez #11 of the Cleveland Guardians during the fifth inning at Progressive Field on April 19, 2024 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Oakland Athletics entered this weekend’s three-game road series against the Cleveland Guardians on a high note, but that came to an abrupt halt on Friday.

After winning the series opener 10-2, Cleveland will look to continue its dominance over the A’s when the teams meet again Saturday evening.

Tyler Freeman hit a two-run homer and Josh Naylor added a solo shot Friday to lead the Guardians, who sit atop the American League Central at 14-6. Oakland had won seven of its past 11 games entering the series.

“It’s just a testament to these guys and how hard they play,” Cleveland manager Stephen Vogt said. “That’s the way these guys play, putting pressure on teams. We’re going to go hard.”

Cleveland has won five of its past six games.

The Guardians also received a spark from Estevan Florial, who has struggled at the plate to begin the season. The designated hitter had a career-high three hits and an RBI in Friday’s win.

“He’s really starting to find his stride,” Vogt said. “His swings have been just so much better. His quality of at-bats has been really, really good over the past week. He’s definitely heading in the right direction.”

Cleveland has won four of its first five meetings against Oakland this season by a combined 39-13 score. This series will conclude play between the two teams for the season.

Cleveland is 15-3 since the start of the 2021 season against the A’s, who will send left-hander Alex Wood (0-1, 8.10 ERA) to the mound on Saturday. He received a no-decision after giving up four runs over 4 1/3 innings in a win against the Washington Nationals last Sunday.

Wood, 33, allowed six runs over 3 1/3 innings in an 8-0 loss to the Guardians on Opening Day. He is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against them.

Cleveland will counter on Saturday with left-hander Logan Allen (2-0, 5.06 ERA), who yielded four runs over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the New York Yankees last Sunday.

The 25-year-old Allen made his first start of the season against Oakland and gave up three runs over five innings in a 6-4 road victory on March 29. He is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two career starts vs. Oakland.

The A’s opened Friday’s game on a positive note when leadoff hitter Abraham Toro hit a solo homer on the third pitch of the game.

Toro has batted leadoff in 10 of the A’s past 11 games and is 13-for-44 (.295) over that span.

“Abraham’s done a nice job at the leadoff spot,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “His at-bats have been really professional. He’s continued to get that opportunity (in the leadoff spot), and we’re hopeful that continues.”

Oakland activated outfielder Brent Rooker (abdominal) from the 10-day injured list Friday, and he made an immediate contribution with a pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning.

“We know the power,” Kotsay said. “It’s nice to see him jump on a pitch that he can drive. We look forward to having him back.”

Rooker hit 30 home runs for the A’s last season.

Upcoming schedule for the Oakland Athletics

  • Friday, April 19-Sunday, April 21 – @ Cleveland Guardians
  • Monday, April 22-Thursday, April 25 – @ New York Yankees
  • Friday, April 26-Sunday, April 28 – @ Baltimore Orioles

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–Field Level Media

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