Surprising A’s face Guardians to begin 10-game trip

Field Level Media

April 19, 2024 at 3:11 am.

The Oakland Athletics appear committed not to let the franchise’s uncertain future affect their on-field performance.

The surprising A’s begin a three-game series and 10-game road trip when they face the Cleveland Guardians on Friday. Cleveland improved to 13-6 with a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.

Oakland begins the series on a hot streak after winning seven of its past 11 games, including a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.

The A’s intend to play in Sacramento for the next three years while waiting for their new stadium to be built in Las Vegas, but the team’s players are focused only on the present.

Esteury Ruiz homered for the second time in three games and Tyler Nevin had a career-high three hits and an RBI on Wednesday to help the A’s avoid a three-game sweep.

“To show the character that we did today, after losing two to these guys, to come out, and being down 3-2 and end up coming back and winning the game, (it) says a lot about the club and the confidence that they have right now,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said.

Ruiz has provided a spark from the leadoff spot since rejoining the team from Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday. He had two RBIs, scored two runs and stole a base in Wednesday’s victory.

“We’re playing great baseball right now,” Oakland pitcher Paul Blackburn said. “The energy is at an all-time high right now for us. It’s not just coming from guys that are in the game. It’s coming from everyone. It’s definitely a group effort right now, and it shows.”

The Athletics will send rookie right-hander Joe Boyle (1-2, 5.68 ERA) to the mound in the series opener. He allowed one run on five hits and one walk over five innings in a 3-1 loss to the Washington Nationals last Saturday.

Boyle, 24, went 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three starts with the A’s last season. He is making his first appearance against the Guardians.

Cleveland will counter with right-hander Triston McKenzie (1-2, 6.23), who is looking to bounce back after giving up six runs (five earned) on four hits and six walks over four innings in an 8-2 loss to the New York Yankees last Saturday.

The 26-year-old McKenzie has struck out five batters and issued 12 walks in his first three outings covering 13 innings. He is 1-0 with a 1.96 ERA in three career starts versus Oakland.

Cleveland begins the weekend on a high note after winning three of four against the Red Sox in Fenway Park.

“You want to win every series. Every team talks about it,” Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said. “It’s not this new idea, but any time you can go on the road and win a series, especially from a very good team across the way, you feel good about it heading home.”

Guardians second baseman Andres Gimenez had two hits from the leadoff spot on Thursday and is hitting .293 with 11 RBIs.

“He’s the Swiss Army knife of the lineup. He hits all over the place,” Vogt said. “His at-bats since the start of the year have been phenomenal … clutch hit after clutch hit.”

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