Cleveland 5, Oakland 4 (10) (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
Oakland 3, Cleveland 1 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's Current record: 41-42
Yes, this is basically a week late, and as such, rather than talk specifically about the games, I wanted to evaluate where the A's stand relative to the rest of the league, and using the Indians (one of the league's worst) and Yankees (one of the league's best) as benchmarks seems about right. The A's ended up taking 2 of 3 from the Indians, losing a winnable game in extra innings (which featured a fine 2010 season debut from Clayton Mortensen) and then winning a classic 2010 Oakland A's game thanks to Vin Mazzaro's best start of the season.
The series left the A's at about .500 (spoiler alert -- not so much anymore), which is essentially where we saw them coming into the year --- a .500 team that needed some breaks to contend, which the A's really haven't had. Their record matches their run differential as well as their third order record (from Baseball Prospectus). The emergence of All-Star Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez has been offset by the injuries to Justin Duchscherer (predictable) and Brett Anderson (not as much). They also need the division to be mediocre all-around, but the emergence of Texas has made the A's a longshot to contend at this point.
It's been pretty clear that they can beat bad teams --- going 7-2 against the Pirates, Orioles and Indians --- but also that they have not been able to consistently beat good teams --- going 1-11 in the past month against the Giants, Reds, Cardinals and Yankees.
The Indians are in rebuilding mode, and without Shin-Soo Choo or Grady Sizemore, their lineup is pretty pitiful --- devaluing Mortensen and Mazzaro's starts. Looking at their future, though, shows some promise that the A's simply don't have on the offensive side of the ball. Carlos Santana (already hitting a ridiculous .286/.425/.583) is a superstar in the making, and if Sizemore returns healthy, along with Choo, that's a championship level middle of the order. Asdrubal Cabrera (also hurt) is an above-average infielder and Matt LaPorta is still well regarded. Their pitching is well behind the A's, however --- but I do feel jealousy pangs every time I see elite young hitters on other teams, because the A's simply don't have any.