One day after Bradley Zimmer thrilled family members and friends with a go-ahead home run, another former San Francisco Bay Area collegiate standout gets an opportunity to do so on the mound when right-hander Cal Quantrill and the Cleveland Indians take on the host Oakland Athletics on Saturday afternoon.
Zimmer, a University of San Francisco product, saw his homer go for naught in the series opener Friday when Oakland’s Jed Lowrie crushed a two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 win.
Zimmer, who had been 2-for-19 in previous homecomings in Oakland and San Francisco, had two hits in the loss. The homer was the first of the season for a slugger who had 14 in his three-year career with the Dons.
Quantrill (1-2, 4.23 ERA), whose standout career at Stanford overlapped with Zimmer’s at USF, will be pitching in his collegiate area for the first time in his career.
He has never faced the A’s, while both his previous duels with the San Francisco Giants took place in San Diego as a member of the Padres.
After starting the year in the bullpen for the Indians, Quantrill has started eight of his last nine appearances, including six in a row during which he’s gone 1-0 with a 5.46 ERA.
Quantrill’s dad, Paul, had a 7-2 lifetime record against the A’s in a career that ended in 2005.
The younger Quantrill noted recently he retains many childhood memories.
“(Growing up is tough,) school’s tough, life’s tough, whatever,” he said of his relationship with his father, who currently is 52 years old. “(Then) you go play catch. It’s nice that everyone gets to play catch with their dad, but I have a guy who’s really good at catch. I think it’s really cool.”
Quantrill was originally paired with Oakland left-hander Sean Manaea on the second day of the three-game set between second-place clubs. But Oakland manager Bob Melvin reworked his second-half opening rotation at the 11th hour Friday, pushing Manaea and right-hander Frankie Montas up a day, while giving All-Star Chris Bassitt two extra days of rest.
Melvin said he began contemplating the move when he saw Bassitt struggle a bit in his one inning of work in the All-Star Game on Tuesday.
“I’m glad he got in the game,” Melvin assured of what turned into a 24-pitch outing. “It looked like it was going to end pretty quickly and then it got a little dicey. I’m glad it did finally end at under 30 pitches. But it looked for a little while there it might only be 10 or 11 pitches, and I would have been great with that.
“I was reaching for a dugout phone (when the count approached 20), but I didn’t have one.”
Bassitt has been rescheduled to start Sunday’s series finale.
Montas (8-7, 4.41) hasn’t pitched since a July 8 start at Houston, a game the A’s won 2-1. He struck out 10 in 6 2/3 innings in the win.
He’s gone 1-1 with a 2.82 ERA in six career games, including three starts, against the Indians.
Friday’s win was Oakland’s third straight and snapped a Cleveland winning streak at three.
–Field Level Media