Even though it is now the first week of August, the Cleveland Indians are still facing opponents they have yet to see this season. This week, the Indians take on the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim for the first time this season.
The Indians (48-56) split in Oakland, taking the first two games behind strong complete game starting pitching efforts, then dropping the final two games as the offense remained notably absent, as has been the trend throughout the entire season. The Indians mustered just seven runs in the split, made possible as the pitching limited the Athletics to just nine games of their own in the four-game series.
The Angels (55-49) have been in a horrible rut while trying to keep close to the first place Houston Astros in the American League West. They were swept in both series on their road trip this week, losing a pivotal three-game set in Houston before the regional rival Los Angeles Dodgers did the same in three straight over the weekend. They have now lost nine of their last ten games and find themselves four games behind the Astros.
PITCHING PROBABLES and GAME NOTES
Kluber has had his season trends bucked in two of his last three starts, as the Indians have scored a combined 21 runs for the Tribe ace in those games. They, however, sandwiched a fourth start with zero runs of support. He leads all of baseball in innings pitched and is the AL leader in games started and losses. Richards missed the start of the season on the disabled list. He has dropped three of his last four starts while getting the Kluber treatment – the Angels have scored a combined eight runs over those last four outings.
Carrasco got back on the winning track in his last start July 30th, a complete game two-hitter over the Oakland A’s. It ended a four-game winless drought on the mound. It marked the second time this season Carrasco has pitched into the ninth and gave the pitcher his second complete game, although this was his first in a winning effort. Shoemaker, just one season after a 16-4 record and an AL-best .800 win-loss percentage and second place finish in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, has seen his walks, hits, home runs, and ERA go up and his strikeouts down. This will be his second career start against the Indians; he allowed two runs on five hits and struck out ten in eight innings against them last season.
Salazar was magnificent his last time out, allowing just one hit and one walk over eight innings. He allowed an unearned run and struck out four as the Indians won, 2-1, on July 31st. He has faced the Angels twice in his career and was hit hard his last time against them, allowing six runs on eight hits in four and two-thirds innings in a loss. Santiago has found surprising success on the west coast after struggling in the early parts of his career as a member of the Chicago White Sox. His strong start to this season led to his placement on the AL All-Star team for the first time in his career. The former 30th round pick is 2-1 with a 4.97 ERA in ten games against the Indians in his career.
Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio and Fox Sports West will air each of the three games of the series. Radio calls of the series will be made available on the affiliates of the Cleveland Indians Radio Network and KLAA 830 AM in southern California.
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
TEAM W-L PCT. GB WCGB STREAK
Kansas City 62-42 .596 – – L1
Minnesota 54-51 .514 8.5 – L2
Detroit 51-54 .486 11.5 3.5 W1
Chicago 50-53 .485 11.5 3.5 L1
Cleveland 48-56 .462 14.0 6.0 L2
The Angels own the Indians in head-to-head matchups, dating back to their entry into Major League Baseball in 1961. The Tribe is 298-322 in 620 games and is below .500 both at home and on the road against the Halos.
The two teams last met in September of last season to play a makeup game for a June rainout. The Angels claimed a 12-3 victory, as Salazar took the loss. The Indians were swept in three straight in Anaheim in April of last season and split their four-game home series later in the year.
The Angels are 32-21 this season at home. The Indians are 28-24 on the road.
ON THE MOVE and ON THE MEND
Abraham Almonte (OF) – acquired in trade with San Diego, optioned to Triple-A Columbus (July 31)
Lonnie Chisenhall (UTL) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (July 31)
Kyle Crockett (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (August 3)
Gavin Floyd (SP) – 60-day disabled list (April 5) – recovery from March 2015 right elbow surgery
Nick Hagadone (RP) – 15-day disabled list (July 8) – recovery from July 2015 left elbow surgery
Jason Kipnis (2B) – 15-day disabled list (August 3) – inflamed right shoulder
Toru Murata (SP) – outrighted off 40-man roster and assigned to Columbus (July 31)
Jose Ramirez (IF) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (August 3)
Michael Roth (P) – optioned to Triple-A Columbus (August 3)
Marc Rzepczynski (RP) – traded to San Diego (July 31)
Jerry Sands (UTL) – contract selected from Triple-A Columbus (July 31)
Nick Swisher (DH) – 15-day disabled list (June 14) – left knee inflammation; continuing rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus
Josh Tomlin (P) – activated from 60-day disabled list, optioned to Triple-A Columbus (July 31)
Los Angeles (AL):
Cam Bedrosian (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake (August 3)
Collin Cowgill (OF) – 60-day disabled list (July 3) – right wrist sprain
David Freese (3B) – 15-day disabled list (July 23) – fractured right index finger
Matt Joyce (OF) – 7-day disabled list (July 27) – concussion
Jeremy McBryde (RP) – cleared waivers, outrighted to Triple-A Salt Lake (August 2)
Vinnie Pestano (RP) – cleared waivers, outrighted to Triple-A Salt Lake (August 3)
Drew Rucinski (RP) – optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake (August 3)
Tyler Skaggs (SP) – 60-day disabled list (April 15) – recovery from August 2014 Tommy John surgery
Jered Weaver (SP) – 15-day disabled list (June 21) – left hip inflammation; on rehab assignment
C.J. Wilson (SP) – 15-day disabled list (July 29) – bone spurs in left pitching elbow
BY THE NUMBERS
Michael Bourn is your second half batting average leader for the Tribe, hitting .357 in 13 games. His dozen singles and three doubles have led to six runs scored and he has four stolen bases in five attempts, after stealing seven in eleven tries in the first half of the campaign.
Chisenhall is hitting at the same clip, but has played in just four games since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus. The former third base prospect for the Indians, after several failed attempts over the last few years, has seen his playing time since his return at designated hitter and in right field, a position he played just four times in his entire career prior.
The second half home run and RBI leaders for the Tribe are Michael Brantley and Francisco Lindor, who each have three homers and ten RBI since the All-Star break. Brantley is hitting .339 with a .443 on-base percentage as he has walked ten times to go with his 20 second half hits. Lindor leads the club with 21 hits since the break and is hitting .309.
Right fielder Kole Calhoun has continued his strong season in the second half with a .356 average and .406 OBP. He, like Lindor, leads his club with 21 hits, including three doubles and four home runs.
Mike Trout missed a few games over the weekend with a sore wrist. He is hitting .294 in the second half with a club-high six homers and 12 RBI in 13 games. He leads all of baseball with 32 homers on the season and is seventh in the AL with 67 RBI. He was named AL Player of the Month for July after hitting .367 with 12 homers and 26 RBI.
At 35 years of age, Albert Pujols has had an outstanding season at the plate as he continues to be amongst the top home run hitters in the AL. He trails just Trout for the MLB lead in homers, as his 30 are the most he has hit since his first season with the Angels in 2012.
Angels first base coach Alfredo Griffin is in his 16th season in the Los Angeles organization, but his career started at the age of 16 with Cleveland.
Griffin was signed as a free agent by the Indians on August 22nd, 1973, out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He spent his first two seasons in the minors before debuting in 1976 for the Indians. He played in just 12 games that season, 14 in the next, and five in more in 1978 before the Indians included him with minor leaguer Phil Lansford in a trade to Toronto for pitcher Victor Cruz.
Griffin would not play another minor league game. With the Blue Jays in 1979, he hit .287, hit ten triples, stole 21 bases, and was named AL Rookie of the Year. He nearly twice ended Len Barker’s perfect game bid in 1981. He played in every game for the Jays in 1982 and 1983 and was an All-Star in 1984. Following the season, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics and, one Gold Glove and three years later, was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-team trade.
He returned to Toronto in 1992 with a World Series ring under his belt while a member of the 1988 Dodgers team. He would win two more in 1992 and 1993 before hanging up his cleats, ending his 18-year MLB career. After his playing days, he worked as a roving minor league instructor for the Blue Jays in 1995 and as their first base coach in 1996 and 1997 before joining the Angels.
Their seven-game west coast trip done, the Indians will enjoy Thursday off before beginning a three-game series at Progressive Field against the Minnesota Twins. The Angels will take Thursday off before welcoming in the Baltimore Orioles for a three-game weekend series before hitting the road for a week. They will come to Cleveland at the end of the month to wrap up their season series with the Indians.
Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images