Series Preview #41: Los Angeles Angels (65-62) at Cleveland Indians (60-66)
Bob Toth | On 28, Aug 2015
With sports, sometimes it is difficult to determine which angle of the story to tell. In regards to the Cleveland Indians, choose the one that you prefer to follow: the Indians are six games below the .500 mark, or the Indians are within five games of the American League Wild Card race with a little over a month left to play.
Regardless of which version of the story you prefer to gravitate to, there is plenty left to watch as the Tribe (60-66) trudges forward on a season full of missed opportunities, roster overhauls, and lingering questions for the future.
They were expected to contend. They haven’t. The offense was supposed to contribute. It has been lacking. The bullpen was supposed to be a strength. It has left fans wanting. The starting rotation was supposed to be good. It has, at times, been great, but is still not without fault or concern. Now, a young group of prospects and fringe players look to make their mark on the 2016 roster by clicking in with the core heading forward, all while still mathematically within range of a Wild Card run, for those hopeful readers in the crowd.
The team fans wanted this season showed up to beat up the Brewers some during the week, sweeping a quick two-game miniseries to win the season series from Milwaukee, three games to one. Josh Tomlin wasn’t great on Tuesday, but he was supported by offense and his mistakes, namely three home runs, did not come back to haunt him in a 11-6 win. Cody Anderson, fresh off of the disabled list to replace a sore Carlos Carrasco, gave the Indians nearly five innings and looked strong on the mound and the offense again contributed run support while the bullpen did its job in a 6-2 win Wednesday.
The Angels (65-62) now find themselves sitting outside of both the AL West and Wild Card races. They are in third place in the West, five and a half games behind Houston, and trail the rival Texas Rangers by a half-game for the second Wild Card slot. They did manage to hang with the races by taking two of three from the reeling Detroit Tigers, winning 8-7 in Tuesday’s opener, dropping a 5-0 final in a one-hit effort from Justin Verlander on Wednesday, and returning the favor on Thursday afternoon with a combined two-hitter in a 2-0 victory.
PITCHING PROBABLES and GAME NOTES
Heaney, the second-year lefty and former ninth overall pick by the Miami Marlins in the 2012 draft, has never faced the Indians. It will mark his 19th MLB game overall and his 17th career start. Salazar has made three starts against the Angels in his career, posting an 0-1 mark with a 4.50 ERA. In his lone start against them in Cleveland, he allowed six runs on eight hits in four and two-thirds innings in a loss. Bauer will replace Danny Salazar, who will miss the start due to illness. Bauer won his only career start against the Angels, coming in Cleveland last season. He allowed three runs on eight hits, walked four, and struck out six in six and two-thirds innings. He is just 4-6 this season pitching at Progressive Field with a 6.07 ERA in 13 starts.
Richards faced the Indians for the first time in his career earlier this season. He allowed four runs on four hits and struck out eleven in seven and one-third innings to earn the win. He is 2-2 in five starts in August with a 5.46 ERA, inflated after he allowed nine runs (seven earned) on ten hits in five innings in his last start against Toronto. Kluber, who leads the league in losses and is receiving just 3.27 runs of support per game, took the loss in Chicago his last time out after once again flirting with a no-hitter. In that pitchers’ duel, he allowed just one run on four hits and struck out eleven in seven and two-thirds innings. He has lost each of his two career starts against the Angels.
The 6’7” Weaver, in his tenth big league season, has seen the Indians plenty during his decade in the game. He has made 19 starts against them, throwing one complete game shutout. He has a career 9-4 record with a 3.30 ERA, but is even better at Progressive Field, holding a 7-1 record with a 2.24 ERA in eleven starts in Cleveland. It is tied for the most wins he has in any road ball park in his career. Tomlin will move up a day to start after Salazar was bumped from Friday’s start. He has factored in the decision in all three games he has pitched in this season. He has allowed seven runs this season – all of which have scored on the six home runs he has surrendered.
Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio and Fox Sports West will air each game in the series. KLAA 830 in southern California and the affiliates of the Cleveland Indians Radio Network will provide radio calls of all three games.
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
TEAM W-L PCT. GB WCGB STREAK
Kansas City 78-49 .614 – – W1
Minnesota 65-62 .512 13.0 0.5 L1
Chicago 60-66 .476 17.5 5.0 W1
Cleveland 60-66 .476 17.5 5.0 W2
Detroit 60-67 .472 18.0 5.5 L1
The Angels bested the Indians when they visited Anaheim earlier in the month, taking two of three from the Tribe in their first of two series this season. It increased their lead in their all-time head-to-head matchups, dating back to 1961, to 324-299.
Included in that mark is a losing record for the Indians in Cleveland against the Angels, where they are two games below the even mark at 151-153. The last time the two clubs met was last September 8th in a makeup game, where Weaver outdueled Salazar in a 12-3 win.
ON THE MOVE and ON THE MEND
Carlos Carrasco (SP) – 15-day disabled list (August 22) – right shoulder bursitis
Gavin Floyd (SP) – 60-day disabled list (April 5) – recovery from March 2015 right elbow surgery
Nick Hagadone (RP) – 60-day disabled list (July 8) – recovery from July 2015 left elbow surgery
T.J. House (SP) – 15-day disabled list (May 1) – left shoulder inflammation; surgery a possibility
Chris Johnson (UTL) – 15-day disabled list (August 15) – left hand infection
Danny Salazar (SP) – day-to-day (August 28) – illness
Los Angeles (AL):
Collin Cowgill (OF) – 60-day disabled list (May 26) – right wrist sprain
Taylor Featherston (2B) – 15-day disabled list (August 16) – upper back strain
David Freese (3B) – 15-day disabled list (July 23) – fractured right index finger
Johnny Giavotella (IF) – 15-day disabled list (August 21) – undisclosed personal medical condition
Matt Joyce (OF) – 15-day disabled list (July 27) – concussion
Cory Rasmus (RP) – 15-day disabled list (August 14) – right forearm strain
Tyler Skaggs (SP) – 60-day disabled list (March 27) – recovery from August 2014 Tommy John surgery
C.J. Wilson (SP) – 60-day disabled list (July 29) – recover from August 2015 left elbow surgery
BY THE NUMBERS
Lonnie Chisenhall is tied for the ninth-longest active hitting streak in the Majros with an eight-game streak. He is hitting .440 during that stretch with a .500 on-base percentage and .720 slugging mark. He has eleven hits and has driving in seven in that time.
Francisco Lindor is not too far behind Chisenhall, hitting safely in each of his last six games. He has 13 hits during his streak while hitting .353 with a .630 on-base percentage and .913 slugging percentage.
Carlos Santana leads the AL with 81 walks. He is the top current Indian player in strikeouts with 94.
Jason Kipnis has increased his lead in the AL batting title race, as he is now hitting .325 on the season with a .400 on-base percentage, also tops in the league. Michael Brantley barely trails him in each race, hitting .320 (third) and posting a .393 OBP (second). The Angels’ Mike Trout is third in the league in on-base percentage with a .392 mark.
Trout was tied for the first half home run lead with teammate Albert Pujols with 26, but has hit just seven in the second half. Pujols has done him one better with eight since the All-Star break. The Subway spokesman from New Jersey is fifth in the AL with 125 strikeouts this season.
Outfielder Kole Calhoun is the team’s leader in homers (nine) and is tied for the team lead in RBI (19) since the break. He is hitting .264 on the year with 19 homers and 66 RBI.
Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway spent parts of the 2002 and 2003 seasons with the Angels organization.
Callaway came to the Angels in a trade with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who had drafted him in the seventh round of the 1996 draft. He came up late in the 2002 campaign for Anaheim while the team was in the thick of the divisional and Wild Card races. He went 2-1 for the club and they were able to make the playoffs as the Wild Card team and would go on to win the World Series over the San Francisco Giants.
He started the second game of the next season for the defending champions and threw six shutout innings. But after three more starts, he was sent to the bullpen and used in a lot of mop-up opportunities before he was released at the end of July. He was picked up by the Texas Rangers a little over a week later and pitched four games in the minors for the club before joining the MLB club for six games. He appeared in four more for the club the following season, dealing with surgery and a forearm strain later, and became a free agent following the season.
He went overseas from 2005 to 2007, pitching in Korea, before spending a season in the United League Baseball for Laredo in 2008 and the Uni-President Lions of Tainan, Taiwan in 2009. He joined the Indians organization in 2010, serving as a minor league pitching coach and then pitching coordinator before joining Cleveland’s parent club.
Their brief homestand over, the Indians will return to the road as they head north of the border to take on the new look Toronto Blue Jays for three games beginning Monday. The Angels will fly back across the country to finish the final leg of their nine-game road trip, stopping in Oakland for three with the A’s starting Monday night.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images