Major League Baseball
Preview
Oakland at Cleveland
When: 1:10 PM ET, Sunday, July 31, 2016
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio

The Cleveland Indians are inching closer to the trade deadline and have yet to complete the long-rumored deal with the Milwaukee Brewers that would land them All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy. The Indians haven't needed the extra bat against the Oakland Athletics and will go for the three-game sweep when they host the series finale on Sunday.

Lucroy has been on the block since spring training and the Indians have seemed like the most likely landing spot for the star since Yan Gomes went down, though he would have to approve any deal to Cleveland. The Indians appeared to take a step back last weekend, when they dropped three straight against fellow playoff contenders the Baltimore Orioles, but wins in three of the last four games helped them stay 4 1/2 games ahead of the hard-charging Detroit Tigers in the American League Central. The Athletics fall into the “seller” category at the deadline and sent center fielder Billy Burns to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. Left-hander Rich Hill, who is one of the bigger trade chips on the Oakland roster, is currently on the disabled list with a blister.

TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, CSN California (Oakland), SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Sonny Gray (5-9, 5.43 ERA) vs. Indians RH Corey Kluber (9-8, 3.44)

Gray would be a nice fit in any contender’s rotation, but the Oakland front office would have to be overwhelmed to deal a 26-year-old at the low point of his value. The Vanderbilt product surrendered a pair of home runs in each on his last two starts but managed to earn a win at Texas on Tuesday while surrendering three runs in six frames. Gray has never lost in four career starts against Cleveland, owning a 2-0 record with two runs allowed in 28 total innings.

Kluber is winless in two starts since the All-Star break despite allowing three runs in 14 innings. The former Cy Young Award winner notched 16 strikeouts in those 14 frames and has 138 K’s in 136 innings on the season. Kluber has never beaten Oakland, owning a 0-4 record in five games – four starts – despite a respectable 3.80 ERA.

WALK-OFFS

1. Hill could be ready to return to the rotation on Thursday or Friday.

2. Indians 1B Mike Napoli went 3-for-3 on Saturday, matching his hit total from his previous seven games.

3. Cleveland UTL Jose Ramirez recorded multiple hits in three straight games.

PREDICTION: Indians 5, Athletics 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Oakland 47-57 L2 24-29 23-28 12-14 10-12 20-22 5-9
Cleveland 59-42 W2 29-17 30-25 11-14 30-13 9-9 9-6
Last Meeting
Oakland Cleveland
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/30/16 OAK 3 CLE 6 .235 2 .719 .343 4 1.121
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Oakland B. Butler .500 3 1.625
Cleveland J. Kipnis .571 4 1.768
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Oakland J. Reddick 1 2 1
Cleveland J. Kipnis 1 2 3
Pitching ERA Avg K
Oakland 5.62 .214 8
Cleveland 2.50 .308 17
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Oakland J. Lowrie .267 88 .644
Cleveland F. Lindor .307 119 .818
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Oakland K. Davis 26 49 68
Cleveland M. Napoli 23 62 70
Pitching ERA Avg K
Oakland 4.63 .251 787
Cleveland 3.65 .260 864