After losing two of three in Anaheim, the Indians head north for the first of three against Oakland on Friday night. Their current trip through California may have a lasting impact on the AL Wild Card race with the A's right in the thick of things.
Left-hander Tommy Milone will take the hill on 11 days' rest for Oakland. He has a record of 1-4 and a 4.09 ERA in his last seven starts. He will take the ball for the first time since Aug. 5.
Oakland is hoping the extra time off will benefit Milone.
"We certainly think so or we wouldn't have done it," manager Bob Melvin said. "We were looking to give these guys a little bit of a break here, and with the two off-days that we had, it made sense to do it."
In that last start, Milone struggled for the third consecutive outing, giving up six runs in six innings. His control was fine, but it was his command within the strike zone that was off.
"Horrible," Milone said of the outing. "I couldn't get that one big pitch that I needed. Like I just said, I was leaving balls up over the plate. They were capitalizing on them, hitting them in play and dropping them. Just try to forget about it and move on to the next one."
In that "next one," Milone faces Indians right-hander Zach McAllister, who dominated the Red Sox in his last outing, yielding just three hits and two runs in eight innings of work with zero walks. Prior to that, he struggled, giving up 14 runs (only 6 earned) in 7 2/3 innings over two starts.
Still, McAllister (5-4, 3.46 ERA) has been solid this year overall, and that outing against the Sox was his 13th consecutive start with four earned runs or fewer allowed. That mark is tied for the fourth-longest streak by an AL starter this season.
"He's been as consistent as anybody here," manager Manny Acta said after McAllister shut down Boston. "It means a lot. You know that you're going to get at least six innings depending on his pitch count. He doesn't walk a lot of guys. He gets himself in position to pitch a good game by attacking the zone with a good fastball and mixing his pitches."
Indians: Three-man bench suits Acta
The Indians' bullpen has been overworked of late, and as a result, Acta has opted for a three-man bench and an eight-man bullpen.
"We don't have a timetable, but if we feel like we get to a point where we need a position player, we'll do it," Acta said. "For now things are status quo."
Acta added: "To be realistic, our bench hasn't been the strength of our club so it's not like we're pinch-hitting every single night. ... Right now it's convenient to have those eight arms."
As: Tooth trouble sidelines Reddick
A's outfielder Josh Reddick had a tooth extracted on Monday, and he was out of the lineup for Wednesday's game against Kansas City because of an unexpectedly difficult recovery.
"He had a tooth that was extracted, and it didn't compact well," Melvin said. "And I guess the clot didn't do so well, so he had to go back in [Wednesday] afternoon and get it redone."
Reddick has had mouth and tooth troubles all season, forcing him to wear a mouth guard. He returned to the lineup on Thursday, going 1-for-4 as the designated hitter in the A's 3-0 win over the Royals.
The Indians took two of three from the A's in Oakland the last time they met, April 20-22. The two clubs will play four games in Cleveland, August 27-30.
Before Wednesday's game against Kansas City, A's hitters had a streak of four consecutive games with at least 10 total strikeouts. That was snapped when three Royals pitchers struck them out nine times on Wednesday.
Cleveland rookie Cody Allen has turned in 12 1/3 straight scoreless innings since being called up July 20. That matches the longest streak to start a career by an Indians' reliever as Tom Waddell went 12 1/3 in 1984.