Preview: Indians Begin West Coast Trip Tonight in Oakland Against the A's

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The start of the recent Indians road swing after a 7-2 homestand didn't exactly get off to a good start, as the team fell in two out of three to the St.Louis Cardinals, including a rare loss for Corey Kluber on Tuesday night.

The series did end on an up note and that was thanks to another solid outing for Shane Bieber, who not only got the win but also recorded his first Major League hit in Wednesday's 5-1 win.

The road swing continues tonight as the team will travel to Oakland to take on the A's, a club out of the AL West that has played better than many would have expected, entering play on Friday six games over .500 at 44-38.

Oakland is actually better on the road than they are at home, as they enter play tonight .500 at home at 20-20, while they are 24-18 on the road.

Here's a look at tonight's game with a quick preview.

Time: 10:10 p.m.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Trevor Bauer (7-5, 2.44 ERA) vs. RHP Paul Blackburn (1-2, 8.83 ERA)

TV: SportsTime Ohio

Online: MLB.TV

Radio: WTAM 1100am, Indians Radio Network

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1. Bauer Looking to Wrap Up a Great June

Trevor Bauer has had an outstanding month, and looks to end the month with a final win as he takes on the A's in the opener of the weekend set in Oakland.

Bauer this month sits at 3-2, but in 34.2 innings pitched he's allowed just eight earned runs, striking out 54 batters along the way.

He still sits at just 7-5 despite a very low 2.44 ERA, and last season faced Oakland twice, winning a 9-4 decision at home on May 30th, and losing to the A's after the All-Star break 7-3 on July 16th in a game that saw him go just 0.2 innings, allowing four runs on three hits with three walks.

Obviously it's a start that Bauer is hoping to put behind him as he takes the mound in Oakland again tonight.

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2. Who Are These Guys?

The A's as stated in our open are six games over .500 at 44-38, not bad for a team that wasn't expected to do all that much in 2018.

Last season the team was last in the AL West, going 75-87, winning 46 of 81 games at home.

This season there's been a couple bats on offense that have led the way for the team, including Jed Lowrie, who comes into play Friday leading the team with a .294 average, 13 homers and 55 RBI with 23 doubles.

Khris Davis leads the team with 20 homers, but is hitting just .225 and has struck out a team high 83 times this season.

Catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who almost was an Indians two seasons ago, has settled in with the A's, and comes into play Friday hitting .261 in 218 at bats.

Lowrie is by far the most dangerous hitter on this team, and Bauer and the rest of the staff has to be careful whenever he's at the plate.

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3. Feasting on Blackburn

The Indians should have an advantage when they come to the plate on Friday as they go up against Paul Blackburn, who makes just his fifth start of the season.

Blackburn sits at 1-2 with an 8.83 ERA entering play Friday, and is coming off a start in which he gave up six runs on eight hits in five innings against the White Sox on June 24th.

His worst outing came on June 13th against the Astros when he was knocked out after just 1.1 innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits against the World Series Champions.

Last season he did throw well in his only start against the Indians, going six innings, allowing three runs on five hits in a game in Oakland on July 15th.

He's struggled thus far in 2018, and Indians bats should be able to knock him around a bit to give Trevor Bauer some run support.