October 25, 2014

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Tribe, ex-Indian Scott Kazmir face off today in day-night doubleheader after rainout

Scott Kazmir

Scott Kazmir

OAKLAND, Calif. — Scott Kazmir will have to wait at least one more day to make his debut for the Oakland Athletics and pitch against his former team.

It’s not exactly the kind of doubleheader he had planned.

The game between the A’s and Cleveland Indians was postponed because of rain Tuesday night. It was the first rainout in Oakland since May 5, 1998.

“I think Kaz brought all the rain with him. You can blame it on him,” said right-hander Corey Kluber, the Indians’ scheduled starter.

The game will be made up in a day-night doubleheader today. The first game is scheduled to start at 3:35 p.m. and the second game at 9 p.m.

Kazmir and Kluber will start the opener. Zach McAllister will take the mound for the Indians in the second game, while A’s manager Bob Melvin said his starter is “to be announced.”

Jesse Chavez had been scheduled to start for the A’s today, but Melvin said he will likely push him back until Thursday — and move the rest of his rotation back one day. Teams are allowed to add a 26th man to the 25-man roster for day-night doubleheaders, so Oakland could call-up a pitcher from Triple-A Sacramento to make the start.

Cleveland beat the A’s 2-0 in Monday night’s season opener, which was played between rain storms that have soaked the San Francisco Bay Area this week. The Indians have Thursday off before hosting Minnesota in its home opener Friday in Cleveland, and the A’s open a four-game series against Seattle on Thursday in Oakland.

The forecast for today is for a high of 61 degrees and a 10 percent chance of rain.

“I kind of like day games,” Kazmir said. “Just throughout my career, I don’t know, I just like it — get up in the morning and go right to it.”

The 19th rainout in Oakland history, including the postseason, covered the Coliseum with so much water so early that officials postponed the game about 90 minutes before the scheduled first pitch.

A couple dozen grounds crew workers carried large brooms to sweep water off the tarp all afternoon. Some Indians players briefly came out to right field to go through some warm-ups during a brief break in the rain — then quickly scrambled back to the clubhouse when another band of rain began falling.

With no fans inside the spacious Coliseum, Kazmir played catch for about 15 minutes in a covered section of the upper-deck concourse near the concessions after officials postponed the game.

“I was ready to pitch today. You can’t let your guard down. I was ready to go.” Kazmir said. “What can you do? Be ready to go early, that’s all you can do.”

Kazmir has waited all winter to make his A’s debut. He signed a two-year, $22 million contract with Oakland as a free agent after spending last year with Cleveland.

He went 10-9 for the Indians last season on a one-year, $1 million contract. Kazmir struck out 162 in 158 innings and had a 4.04 ERA over 29 starts, rediscovering his groove and the zip on his fastball.

Indians manager Terry Francona saw Kazmir’s renaissance firsthand. While Kazmir knows the tendencies of Cleveland’s hitters, Francona said the Indians also know what Kazmir wants to do as well.

“I don’t think anybody really has the advantage,” Francona said. “The pitcher holds the ball, so the first advantage always goes to him. But what we do with it is up to us. He’s good. We think he’s pretty good. But our job is to beat him now.”

Brantley revisited

Francona studied the play at the plate in the sixth inning that home plate umpire/crew chief Mike Winters used the new instant replay system to review an example of the new rules on home plate collisions.

Although replay upheld the out call as Michael Brantley tried to score from third, Francona still doesn’t believe A’s catcher John Jaso gave Brantley enough of a lane.

“They’re trying to institute a rule to protect the catchers. I think we all understand that. Getting there is not always (the) easiest,” Francona said. “I’m sure you’re going to see some squabbling back and forth until it’s completely figured out.”

Francona said because Jaso moved up the line “that takes away any angle Brantley had. I don’t agree with that at all.”

Francona said he told the Indians to slide in every instance.

“We were told that you’re never in peril of being called out, thrown out or suspended if you slide,” Francona said. “We were also told if they blocked the plate before they have the ball, they are going to overturn calls.”

Given the chance to see the replay, Brantley didn’t change what he said Monday night.

“I did not have clear vision of the plate,” Brantley said. “It’s a gray area and I think it’s going to come up more often.”

Asked if there was another way he could have slid, Brantley said, “The only other way was to slide way out to the right and I wouldn’t be able to touch the plate.”

Injury updates

Catcher Yan Gomes needed stitches in his elbow after being hit by a Johnson pitch in the ninth.

“Luckily it left a mark, but it didn’t break. That’s always your worst fear,” Francona said. “I think that happens more than people realize.”

Center fielder Michael Bourn (strained left hamstring) will work out with Triple-A Columbus today and is scheduled to play rehab games there on Thursday and Friday.

Notable

  • Francona said he moved switch-hitting SS Asdrubal Cabrera into the leadoff spot Tuesday because he wanted to keep everybody in their normal spot in the order while Bourn is out with a strained left hamstring. Lefty Nyjer Morgan started Monday’s opener, but with the left-handed Kazmir on the mound, Francona opted to go with Cabrera.
  • Melvin said A’s starter Sonny Gray’s right ankle is fine after a comebacker from Cabrera hit off the pitcher’s right ankle Monday night.
  • A’s OF Craig Gentry is not with the team because his wife is having an induced labor soon. He will be held out of rehabilitation work on his strained back for a few days.

McClatchy Newspapers contributed to this story.

TODAY

WHO: Cleveland vs. Oakland
TIMES: 3:35 p.m. and 9 p.m.
WHERE: O.co Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.
PITCHERS: GAME 1 … Kluber (11-5, 3.85 ERA) vs. Kazmir (10-9, 4.04)
GAME 2 … McAllister (9-9, 3.75 ERA) vs. TBA
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM