The last time Logan Allen started a game for the Cleveland Guardians, the rookie left-hander was trying to prevent a three-game sweep
When he takes the mound on Thursday afternoon against the visiting Oakland A's, he will be aiming to complete one.
"Every third game of a series, you're playing for something," he said.
The Guardians avoided a sweep by the San Diego Padres when Allen took the mound on June 15, but he didn't have much to do with the victory
Allen (3-2, 3.95 ERA) experienced his shortest start of the season, allowing five runs and four hits in three innings during Cleveland's 8-6 win. He struck out two and walked four.
Allen was handed a 5-0 lead before he took the mound, but the Padres came back with three runs in the bottom of the first.
"Ideally, you get a lead and you go out there and get zeros, and I wasn't able to do that," Allen said. "I didn't really throw strikes out of the gate and I struggled to find the zone."
Allen felt his pitches left his hand the same way they did in May, when he went 1-1 with a 2.83 ERA in five starts.
"Really can't think of it too much," he said. "Just get right back to it and be ready for the next one."
Allen has not faced the A's.
Cleveland could be without right-fielder Will Brennan, who injured his throwing shoulder while making a diving catch the Guardians' 7-6 win on Wednesday
The A's have lost seven in a row following a seven-game winning streak.
Oakland plans to send left-hander JP Sears to the mound in the series finale.
Sears (1-4, 4.24 ERA) went six straight starts in which he allowed two earned runs or fewer, but that streak ended on Friday when he surrendered four runs and four hits in seven innings during a 6-1 loss to the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.
He struck out seven, and for the second consecutive game, did not walk a batter.
"He made a few mistakes to some good hitters," A's manager Mark Kotsay said. "The ball was just elevated. When he's trying to go above the zone and missing middle-middle, those really are the pitches that hurt him."
Sears has added a slider that should come in handy against the Guardians
"With the new slider I started throwing during spring training and then this year, it's gotten a lot of popups," Sears said. "It's definitely been a huge part of my pitch selection this year, attacking those guys up and in. Hopefully, I continue to do that and just kind of sharpen some things up."
Sears made his season debut against the Guardians on April 4. He allowed three runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings in a game that Oakland won 4-3
He made his only other appearance against the Guardians last season in relief, when he threw 2 2/3 innings of one-run ball for the New York Yankees on July 3
--Field Level Media