Clash of unbeatens as Cahill faces Tomlin

461917.jpg

Clash of unbeatens as Cahill faces Tomlin

May 4, 2011

CLEVELAND (20-8) vs.
A's (15-15)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on CSN Plus

OAKLAND (AP) -- After a stellar 2010 season for the Oakland Athletics, Trevor Cahill's strong start in 2011 should be no surprise.

The same can't be said of the early success Cleveland's Josh Tomlin has enjoyed in his first full major league season.

Both Cahill and Tomlin look to improve to 5-0 when the Indians try to match a season high with their eighth consecutive victory Wednesday night in Oakland.

Cahill (4-0, 1.88 ERA) has not missed a step after going 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA in 2010, his second major league season. The right-hander has allowed more than one run once in six starts. He overcame four walks and seven hits to pitch seven scoreless innings Friday in a 3-1 win over Texas.

"He throws the ball well," Rangers outfielder David Murphy told the Athletics' official website.

Cahill is 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA against the Indians, but is facing them for the first time in Oakland. He allowed one run in seven innings of a 6-1 victory at Cleveland on Aug. 25.

Tomlin (4-0, 2.45), who went 6-4 with a 4.56 ERA in 12 starts last year, has never faced the A's.

The right-hander has allowed two runs or fewer in four of five starts. He gave up a pair of homers in six innings of a 7-2 win over Kansas City last Wednesday.

"That's my job," Tomlin told the Indians' official website. "I'm supposed to go out there and give six, seven innings every time."

Tomlin has played a significant role in the stellar start the Indians (20-8) are enjoying. Major league-best Cleveland followed a 6-0 homestand by scoring three times in the ninth inning Tuesday to beat Oakland 4-1.

"They're playing well and their record reflects that," said A's reliever Brian Fuentes, who took the loss. "They're just clicking on all cylinders."

REWIND: Fuentes falters as Indians rally late over A's

Orlando Cabrera hit a tiebreaking single and Asdrubal Cabrera added two RBIs in the ninth as Cleveland snapped a three-game road skid overall and improved to 9-23 at Oakland since last winning a series there July 29-31, 2002.

"We wanted to play good at home and we did, because the West Coast is always tough," said Indians manager Manny Acta, whose team is 7-6 away from home.

After a three-hit effort in the series opener, Asdrubal Cabrera is batting .345 with five RBIs in his last seven games. He is 2 for 6 with a double against Cahill.

Shin-Soo Choo went 0 for 4 with a walk, one day after he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving when a breathalyzer test showed he had a blood-alcohol level of .20 - more than double Ohio's legal limit of .08.

"I am hopeful that this incident will not be a distraction to the Indians organization while we remain focused on continuing to play winning baseball," Choo said in a statement.

Choo is hitting .241 this season, but is 4 for 5 lifetime versus Cahill.

Hideki Matsui had two of the five hits Tuesday for the A's (15-15), who lost for the second time in six games. Matsui, who hit a walkoff homer in Monday's 5-4, 10-inning win over Texas, is 10 for 23 in his last seven games versus Cleveland.

Notes: Marquette King has a bad day, mocked by Kelce

nfl-generic.jpg

Notes: Marquette King has a bad day, mocked by Kelce

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Marquette King had a bad day at work. The Raiders punter rarely does, and celebrates his exploits with dances catered to each opponent. He has become a social media maven in recent weeks, by far the NFL’s most interesting punter.

On Thursday night, the opposition fought back. King mishit a punt that gave lightning quick Tyreek Hill an opportunity to return a punt 78 yards for a touchdown.

He also couldn’t get a slightly-off-target snap down in time for Sebastian Janikowski to kick a makable field goal.

All told, King punted eight times, and didn’t land a single one inside the 20-yard line. His 31.1-yard net average was 10 yards below his season average.

King’s no good, very bad day took a strange turn on the punt return touchdown, when Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce approached King and did a bronco riding dance King debuted in Week 9 against Denver. Kelce did his dance and then barked at the Raiders young punter, which was followed by a terse exchange.

"He told me I didn't have any rhythm," Kelce said on NFL Network. "I told him, 'Trust me, wait until I get until the end zone.'"

King also found Hill in the end zone and said unkind things that ultimately got him flagged for taunting.

That was the end of a bad sequence where King didn’t hit the punt right. His coverage was angled left, and he hit it straight.

“We kicked it right to a dangerous guy,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We didn’t want to kick it in the middle of the field. We wanted to get it to the sideline or out of bounds, but we just missed. He’s too dangerous a guy to give that type of opportunity to.”

Osemele taken to hospital: Raiders left guard Kelechi Osemele was taken to a Kansas City hospital on Thursday morning with an undisclosed illness.

He wasn’t ready to play on Thursday night, and was a late scratch. Vadal Alexander and Jon Feliciano played left guard in Osemele’s stead, but the Raiders missed their emotional leader along the line.

Del Rio said Osemele should be fine with a few days rest, and should be ready to practice when the Raiders resume football activity early next week.

“It was significant enough that we wanted to make sure he got the proper care,” Del Rio said.

Osemele was able to travel home on the team charter.

Another strong day for Murray: The Raiders passing game couldn’t get much going against Kansas City. The same can’t be said for the run game. The Silver and Black totaled 135 yards on 31 carries, an effort led by Latavius Murray’s fine day. He had 103 yards on 22 carries, the second straight game he has exceeded 100 yards total offense.

Murray kept the offense afloat while the air attack struggled, including several key runs on a late comeback push that was ultimately unsuccessful. Murray also scored his 12th rushing touchdown of the season, matching the highest total since Marcus Allen had a dozen touchdowns in 1990.

This ‘n that: Raiders receiver Amari Cooper exceeded 1,000 receiving yards for the second straight year, becoming the first Raiders to reach four digits in the first two years of his career. He is the third player in NFL history with at least 70 catches and 1,000 yards in his first two pro seasons. …Khalil Mack had a strip sack for the third straight game, which extends a marvelous run of defensive play. Mack has a sack in eight straight games, and has eight sacks, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in the last six games. …The Chiefs have won four straight games against the Raiders, and sit atop the AFC West with three games to play.

Carr takes responsibility for poor Raiders passing game, 'We played awful'

Carr takes responsibility for poor Raiders passing game, 'We played awful'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Derek Carr has made 44 starts as Raiders quarterback. They all haven’t been pretty. Most of them have, but the 25-year has hit a few bumps during what is generally considered a sterling start to his career.

He threw some costly interceptions in 2015, and was learning on the job as a rookie. He’s been nothing short of awesome this season. Until Thursday night, certainly one of his worst as a professional.

Ponder this stat line: 17-for-41, 117 passing yards, no touchdowns, no picks. His 49.1 passer rating was career low.

That’s un-Carr-like, to say the least.

While his receivers dropped four passes, there were many others not in the tally that should’ve been caught. Special teams made some costly mistakes and the defense had some first-half lapses.

Carr wasn’t afraid to say quarterback play had a huge impact on a 21-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, a nationally televised game that dropped the Raiders to 10-3 and into second-place in the AFC West.

“It was definitely a bad night, no way of getting around that,” Carr said. “I hate to have a bad night coming on this one, out of all the games we’ve had. Obviously, we didn’t do enough. 

“I feel very responsible for that because of being the leader of the offense and the team. I feel sick to my stomach when we put something like that out there on film. It hurts, I can promise you that. I put too much time into this to go do something like that.”

Carr didn’t want to make excuses after this loss. He didn’t blame his right pinky, which he dislocated in two places against Carolina, which still causes discomfort.

“It definitely wasn’t the finger’s fault,” Carr said.

He didn’t blame frigid temperatures, or whether that had an effect on his grip or his ailing digit. It certainly might have, but the Raiders quarterback never plays the blame game.

Despite the passing game’s struggles, Latavius Murray ran well and the defense clamped down in the second half. That kept the Raiders down one score most of the second half, but they couldn’t cross the goal line.

The Raiders had more than eight minutes to put a game-trying drive together, but stalled at the Kansas City 19-yard line and turned it over on downs.

Carr put one touchdown drive together, late in the first half that made it 21-10. The defense forced two turnovers in the red zone early in the third quarter, but the Raiders only got three points from those opportunities.

That, much like everything else that happened in the passing game, was uncharacteristic of an explosive unit.

“Everything about tonight was unusual, to be honest,” Carr said. “To have our defense step up for us and make plays, and for us to go out there and not execute, do things we don’t do… That’s why it’s frustrating. That why I promise you I’m not worried.

“We played awful. It wasn’t good enough, but I’m not worried because I know the guys in the locker room. I’m not worried one bit, but it just sucks. We have to take it. We have to take the punch, but I’m not worried. I think we’re going to bounce back.”