Cleveland 6, Oakland 1 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's Current Record: 11-8
Brett Anderson's last 24 hours have been a bit of a roller coaster. He looked great during his start yesterday, but then had to leave early with what was first described as elbow or forearm tightness. A significant injury to Anderson would have been way worse than an A's loss, but the news from this morning seems to indicate that Anderson's injury was merely a forearm cramp.
Anderson is apparently on track to make his next start, which is great news for him and the team. Except for the early-ish exit, yesterday's results are what I've come to expect from Anderson, who probably should be considered the A's ace. His command was a bit off in the early going as he fell behind half the hitters he faced in the first two innings. However, he managed to escape any harm in the first two frames and looked really good the rest of the way. The double to Mike Redmond in the sixth that led to a run was costly, but was the only extra base hit Anderson gave up. His final line was 6 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 5 Ks, and 1 walk. Through 6 innings he had thrown only 80 pitches and without the forearm cramp would have been able to pitch at least into the seventh.
That would have been nice for the A's, as the Indians were able to jump all over the A's bullpen. Chad Gaudin pitched a perfect seventh, but, with the help of Craig Breslow, gave up two runs in the eighth. Edwar Ramirez let the Indians put the game far out of reach as he gave up three more runs in the ninth. Michael Wuertz will likely be ready to rejoin the A's this week and I'd have to imagine that Ramirez' hold on a job with the big league club is precarious. His control is just not good enough to be a successful reliever. He walked three batters (again), two of whom scored. For the year, he has now walked eight batters in ten innings.
In the end, the failure of the A's bullpen doesn't really matter as the offense managed to only score one run. When opposing pitchers don't give them free passes the A's can't really score. And Fausto Carmona, looking like a much different pitcher than the last two years, challenged the A's hitters and had great control. He pitched into the eighth inning and did not give up a walk. He threw first pitch strikes to 20 of the 29 hitters he faced and 70 of his 103 pitchers were in the strike zone.
The A's might fare better today against Justin Masterson. Masterson has had some problems with control so far in his career, so the A's may actually score more than a couple of runs today. Those runs, along with a solid outing by Gio Gonzalez, would certainly help the A's finish their long homestand above .500.