The Oakland Athletics may have to overcome some difficult circumstances to extend streaks of 10 straight home wins and six in a row at home over the New York Yankees.
The Athletics have struggled all season in day games and could again be without two key hitters when they go for a three-game sweep Thursday.Oakland (40-27) seeks its longest run at home since taking 12 in a row Aug. 13-Sept. 14, 2002. The Athletics last enjoyed a longer run at home versus New York (37-28) when they won 10 straight there from 1989-91.One curious aspect of Oakland's season is its 11-14 mark in day games -- the third-worst in the AL. The Athletics own the league's second-best mark overall.Oakland won 5-2 on Wednesday without center fielder Coco Crisp and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes.Cespedes, who leads the club with 13 homers, left early after he tweaked his left hamstring in Tuesday's 6-4 victory. It's almost certain he will sit out Thursday.Crisp, who has homered in consecutive games, has a bruised heel. There's a better chance he could see action in the finale."He felt better when he got to the park and got some treatment," manager Bob Melvin said. "We won't take any chances with him but if he comes in and feels like he's close to 100 percent, there's the potential for him to play."Oakland has not needed much offense in going a major league-best 20-5 since May 17. A's starters have gone 15-3 with an AL-best 2.54 ERA in that span including a 1.50 ERA during this streak at home.It's up to Jarrod Parker (5-6, 4.68 ERA) to continue that trend Thursday as he looks to win a fourth straight start.The right-hander, who has a 1.77 ERA in his last three, is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees, with Robinson Cano 0 for 6 against him.Parker will be opposed by Hiroki Kuroda (6-5, 2.84), who is enduring his longest winless stretch with New York by going 0-3 with a 5.23 ERA in his last four outings.Kuroda is 1-2 with a 4.12 ERA in three starts against the A's, winning last May 27 in his lone one in Oakland -- also the last time New York won there.The right-hander will be hoping that the Yankees can end their season-high five-game drought without a homer. It's the club's longest drought since also going five games from May 17-21, 2006, and it hasn't gone six in a row without a homer since June 12-17, 1996."It's part of the game. You have to fight your way out of it," manager Joe Girardi said. "We know the guys are capable."Travis Hafner is in a 0-for-14 drought while Kevin Youkilis is 5 for 30 this month with no homers.Oakland has all four homers in this series, with Brandon Moss connecting twice Wednesday. He's 5 for 40 over his last 19 games, with all of the hits leaving the ballpark."I'll take that," said Moss, batting .228. "It's not where I want to be, obviously. I'd much rather be getting hits also."
From Elias: The Yankees had 3 batters go hitless in at least 7 at-bats on Thursday-- Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis, Vernon Wells
It's the first time in team history that they've had 3 players go 0-for-7 or worse in the same game.