Despite missing out on a chance to set a new high-water mark for the best start in team history, manager Manny Acta will hand the ball to Jeanmar Gomez to get the Tribe back on track. The 23-year-old, who will make his third start of the season, comes off a rocky performance, in which he gave up three earned runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Tigers on April 29. He may also be pitching to stay in the rotation.
Carlos Carrasco is slated to pitch a rehab assignment with Double-A Akron on Friday, and could rejoin the Indians' rotation as early as next week. That means either Gomez or Alex White could be sent back to Triple-A Columbus. In the interim, Acta has appreciated Gomez's effort.
"He's battled for us and given us an opportunity," Acta said. "He competed well for us last year. He's only had two outings here, so we're going to have to see more. If everything works out, [Carrasco] could be in line to pitch the very next week for us."
The A's Brett Anderson is not worried about his rotation spot, but he does want to improve upon his last outing, in which he gave up seven earned runs on nine hits in five innings against the Rangers on April 30. It was just the second time this year Anderson didn't last at least seven innings. He also surrendered three home runs -- after staying in the yard in his first five starts -- and walked four Rangers despite walking four in his previous 34 2/3 innings this season.
"The only thing I can take solace in is that it's going to be better next time," Anderson said after his last outing. If track records mean anything, then it should get better. In two career starts against Cleveland, Anderson is 1-0 and has allowed one earned run on seven hits in 12 innings, with 15 strikeouts and just two walks.
Indians: Shutdown southpaw
Closer Chris Perez gained recognition for his scoreless streak that carried over from last season. But having given up four earned runs already this season, the hottest hand now belongs to Rafael Perez. The left-hander has not allowed a run in his last 22 appearances, dating back to September 4, 2010. In that span, Perez has tossed 18 1/3 innings, given up 18 hits while fanning 11. His longest scoreless stretch last season reached 14 games, from June 3-July 2.
Athletics: Suzuki, Barton return
Kurt Suzuki and Daric Barton will both return to the lineup on Thursday after receiving scheduled days off on Wednesday. Suzuki is 6-for-20 (.300) with two home runs and six RBIs since returning from the paternity leave list on Friday.
Barton, however, is the midst of a deep slump. The first baseman is hitting just .127 (7-for-55) over his last 16 games, after hitting .292 through his first 14 games. May has rarely been kind to Barton, who is a career .212 hitter during the season's second month -- the lowest monthly mark of his career.
In addition to clutch, late-game offense, the Indians are winning close games because of excellent defense. Cleveland ranks second in the American League in fielding percentage (.988), while its 13 errors are the second-fewest in the league.