Another test for A's with high-flying Tribe in town


Another test for A's with high-flying Tribe in town

May 3, 2011

CLEVELAND (19-8) vs.
A's (15-14)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

OAKLAND (AP) -- The Cleveland Indians' 13-game home winning streak has largely contributed to them holding baseball's best record through the first month of the season. Heading into a West Coast trip, improving their 6-6 road mark becomes the priority.

Cleveland begins a six-game swing through California on Tuesday night against the Oakland Athletics, who have won six of eight at home.

The Indians (19-8) completed a 6-0 homestand following a three-game losing streak with a 5-4 win against Detroit on Sunday. Matt LaPorta had two doubles and three RBIs in the victory.

"A super, fantastic homestand. Just terrific," manager Manny Acta said. "Winning breeds confidence and these kids right now are feeling pretty good."

Despite their home success, the Indians have lost six of eight on the road after winning their first four away from Progressive Field. Following this series, they play three against Los Angeles.

Acta said his team must carry over the success from its homestand.

"Expectations don't change," he said. "You try to win every game. We'll try to take some home cooking on the road."

Fausto Carmona (2-3, 5.15 ERA) looks to keep the Indians rolling by building on his most recent start. The right-hander beat Kansas City 8-2 on Thursday, allowing two runs through seven innings.

Carmona's numbers are much more respectable following his opening day performance against Chicago on April 1, when he allowed 10 runs in three innings. He's 2-2 with a 2.94 ERA in four starts since, and has gone at least seven innings in three of them.

However, Carmona hasn't been very impressive against the A's. He's 3-5 with a 5.54 ERA in 10 appearances, going 0-2 with a 4.61 ERA in his last two starts.

Hideki Matsui is one of four Athletics hitting above .300 against Carmona.

Matsui had an RBI groundout in the fifth inning and homered in the bottom of the 10th on Monday to give Oakland (15-14) its fourth win in five games, 5-4 over Texas. Despite his big day, Matsui is hitting .242.

"The adjustments are ongoing on a daily basis," he said. "That's what I have been doing and it's what I will keep doing."

REWIND: A's win on Matsui's walk-off in 10th

Matsui is 7 for 11 (.636) with a home run against Carmona, while former Indian Coco Crisp (.545), Mark Ellis (.313) and David DeJesus (.308) also have hit him well.

Crisp had the day off Monday as a precaution after he returned Sunday from a three-game absence with tightness in his left hamstring.

Starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy committed two errors, giving Oakland an AL-most 27. Grant Balfour pitched around three walks in the top of the 10th to earn the win.

"We've been up and down through April," McCarthy said. "To start May like this is something we needed. The bullpen was outstanding. They stood up and got my back."

Right-hander Tyson Ross (1-2, 2.76) will make his first start against Cleveland after tossing seven scoreless innings in Oakland's 2-1, 10-inning victory against the Angels on Wednesday.

Ross pitched two scoreless innings against Cleveland on April 23, 2010.

The A's went 6-3 against Cleveland last season, winning two of three meetings at home.

Del Rio: Raiders 'have some real diehards,' should keep homefield advantage in Oakland


Del Rio: Raiders 'have some real diehards,' should keep homefield advantage in Oakland

PHOENIX – Jack Del Rio is an East Bay guy. The Castro Valley native and Hayward High product went to Raiders games as a child, and knows too well how loud Oakland Coliseum crowds can be. He helped create that home-field advantage decades ago, and appreciates it now as Raiders head coach.

The Black Hole and surrounding supporters were felt in losing seasons but last year especially, when the Raiders went 12-4 and won several games in dramatic fashion.

While the Raiders are currently sold out of season tickets for 2017, there’s some question about how the fans will react after owners approved relocation to Las Vegas on Monday morning. The Raiders plan to play in Oakland the next two seasons – they have team options on the Oakland Coliseum for 2017 and 2018 -- and would like to play there again in 2019 until a Vegas stadium is completed in 2020.

Will there be a bunch of empty seats? Will there be protests outside the stadium? Or will the opportunity to see a team with championship aspirations keep fans coming?

That remains uncertain, though Del Rio believes Raiders fans will continue supporting their club.

“I can’t answer that definitively, but I would say I doubt it,” Del Rio said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I think we have to play well and earn it. That’s where it starts. I’m banking on us doing well. If we do well enough, people will be excited to watch us."

Raiders owner Mark Davis has offered refunds to fans jilted by the move out of town, though those requests weren’t immediately high. There’s also a waiting list to buy season tickets if they become available.

There will be fans turned off after all this, and Raiders brass don’t fault them for it.

“There is that element where a certain number where they’re disappointed to the point they won’t support us anymore. That’s understandable,” Del Rio said. “We’ll have to see what that number is. If it’s a lot, we’ll adjust that line of thinking. But I would be surprised if that’s the case.”

Raiders fans are unique, and have shown a willingness to travel for games regardless of record.

“We have some real diehards,” Del Rio said. “We draw globally. I’m sure there will be some who are angry and can’t get over it; that’s understandable. I think there will be a large contingent who are true Raiders fans, and it really doesn’t matter where they’re playing. They’re there and they’re fired up.”

Del Rio: No handbook for transition to Vegas, 'focus on the here and now'

Del Rio: No handbook for transition to Vegas, 'focus on the here and now'

PHOENIX -- Jack Del Rio’s sat down for his annual media breakfast Tuesday morning surrounded by cameras. The Raiders head coach was the main attraction at this AFC function at the NFL owners meetings, and it wasn’t because his team finished 12-4 last year.

Most of this media throng wasn’t there to ask about Derek Carr’s rehab from fibula surgery or position battles waged during the offseason program.

They wanted to know about Vegas, baby, Vegas.

The Raiders were approved to relocate there Monday and he was asked about how he’ll deal with relocation issues despite the fact Del Rio will coach the Oakland Raiders for as many as three seasons.

That limbo length is unprecedented, leaving Del Rio without a road map for how to ease concerns about the future.

“It’s a little unique,” Del Rio said. “There isn’t a handbook out there. If there is, send it to me. There isn’t one out there. We’ll draw on the experiences we have in the group, and do the best we can to put a plan together and execute it.”

Del Rio said he’ll address relocation with his players once they convene for the offseason program, and try to keep them focused on the present. He recommends discussion with anxious family members as well, and to reiterate that there’s an extended stretch where relocation is only a concept.

“If you go back to this basic principle: It’s a year-to-year league,” Del Rio said. “Heck, it’s a week-to-week league. Don’t get too far ahead of yourselves. There is a story that’s going to be written that’s going to take off.

“We have to focus on the here and now. So much of the team turns over anyway, from the coaching staffs to the roster. Let’s just focus on taking care of business.”

Del Rio brought up a good point, that NFL rosters turnover at roughly 30 percent each year and coaching staffs fluctuate, so it’s possible many may never be a Raider playing in Vegas.

Del Rio anticipates being involved in the construction and amenities of a practice facility in the Las Vegas area at some point, though a location hasn’t been chosen yet. He said the Raiders have had discussions on how to help players and staff with the eventual transition and with player outreach to mitigate issues regarding readily available vices in Sin City.

Del Rio said he would ask Raiders alumni about the move to Los Angeles in the 1980s, and use their experience to help in this upcoming move.

He answered every question on this topic Tuesday morning, but hopes to move on from it when the offseason program begins next month.

“For us, it’s really about getting back to the task of the upcoming season,” Del Rio said. “We know we’re going to have nine games not on our home turf. We have a demanding schedule, and it’s going to be imperative that, as a football team, we focus on the here and now. … We had a good, strong year last year and we’re looking forward to building on that.”

Las Vegas will remain a topic moving forward, and Del Rio will be prepared to deal with the unexpected as he sails uncharted waters.

“(After this), maybe I can write a handbook I can pass out to the next team in this spot,” Del Rio said. “For me, it’s something you have to navigate. You have to appreciate some of the things that are coming, know what they are and address them.”