For just the second time this season, the Cleveland Indians spent less than seven days out on the road. Now, they will get to enjoy their longest homestand of the season as they set up shop at Progressive Field for the next eleven days as they host the Los Angeles Angels, a pair of Sox, and the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Indians (63-48) return home from another road trip with a 2-3 record. After losing two of three to the New York Yankees in the Bronx over the weekend, they spent two games in the national’s capital and split another two-game set with one of the best teams in the Senior Circuit, the Washington Nationals. Now, one of the best home teams in the game will get an extended stay on the shores of Lake Erie as they look to improve upon the three and a half game lead that they boast over the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central Division.
Injuries have decimated the Angels (49-64), who have had a revolving door in their starting rotation throughout the season. They come to Cleveland riding a six-game losing skid, coming off of back-to-back series sweeps to the Chicago Cubs and Seattle Mariners. They were surprisingly quiet at the trade deadline, opting to stay the course in a generally competitive AL West Division.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Thursday, 8/11, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Jhoulys Chacin (2-5, 5.22 ERA) vs. RHP Corey Kluber (11-8, 3.16)
This will be the third career start for Chacin in Cleveland and his first since 2014. In both cases, he was ineffectively wild, limiting the Indians’ ability to get hits, which may have been more due to him being nowhere close enough to the zone for the Tribe to put bat on ball. In 11 2/3 career innings against Indians hitters, he has allowed just five hits, but has walked eleven while giving up five runs, including four in that last start in 2014. Kluber won his first career game against the Angels back in June with a complete game three-hitter, striking out eight Halos hitters. He is 5-4 at Progressive Field this season with a 2.95 ERA in nine starts.
Friday, 8/12, 7:10 PM ET – LHP Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 2.04) vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco (7-6, 3.17)
Skaggs will make career start number two against the Indians and his first in Cleveland. In that only appearance in 2014, he allowed three runs on four hits in seven innings with six strikeouts. It will be his fourth start of the season after missing all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery in August of 2014. Carrasco’s career struggles at Progressive Field continue this season – he is 2-3 in eight starts with a 4.81 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. He has earned just one decision in seven games (three starts) against the Angels in his career – a win in 2013 in relief. His last outing against Los Angeles was memorable, as he limited the Angels to just one hit in nine innings in a no-decision last season.
Saturday, 8/13, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Matt Shoemaker (6-12, 4.07) vs. RHP Mike Clevinger (0-1, 6.97)
Shoemaker has been a strikeout machine against the Tribe in three starts, one in each of the last three years. He struck out ten batters in the first two outings and hit eleven in a no-decision this season despite throwing eight scoreless innings of three-hit ball. He has not allowed a run in his last 14 innings against Cleveland. Clevinger will get the start against the club that drafted him in 2011 and dealt him to the Indians in 2014 for reliever Vinnie Pestano. He will need to put up some better numbers in a tough matchup and need to overcome a 5.23 ERA and 2.03 WHIP at Progressive Field in three games (two starts).
Sunday, 8/14, 1:10 PM ET – RHP Jered Weaver (8-9, 5.19) vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (8-5, 3.88)
The 6’7” right-hander Weaver has treated Progressive Field as a home away from home throughout his career. He is 7-2 pitching in Cleveland with a 2.99 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 12 career starts and a complete game shutout. He earned a win every year from 2009 through 2014 before getting shelled for eight runs on nine hits his last time out in 2015. He is 9-5 all-time against the Indians in 20 starts. Bauer has been great against the Angels throughout his career, posting a 2-0 record in three starts with a 2.38 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. He is coming off of a solid showing against former Cy Young winner Max Scherzer in Tuesday’s win.
TV – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all but Saturday); Fox Sports West (all but Saturday); FS1 (Saturday); TBS (Sunday)
Radio (all games) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; KLAA 830 (LA)
Michael Brantley (LF) – 60-day disabled list (May 10) – right shoulder inflammation, right biceps tendinitis
Joe Colon (RP) – 15-day disabled list (July 22) – right shoulder inflammation
Yan Gomes (C) – 15-day disabled list (July 17) – separated right shoulder
T.J. House (RP) – optioned to Triple-A Columbus (August 11)
Tommy Hunter (RP) – 15-day disabled list (July 16) – non-displaced lower back fracture
Jeff Manship (RP) – activated from the 15-day disabled list (August 11)
Los Angeles (AL):
Cam Bedrosian (RP) – 15-day disabled list (August 4) – right middle finger tendinitis
C.J. Cron (1B) – 15-day disabled list (July 9) – recovery from July 2016 right hand surgery
Andrew Heaney (SP) – out for season – recovery from July 2016 Tommy John surgery
Carlos Perez (C) – optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake (August 10)
Cory Rasmus (RP) – 60-day disabled list (June 13) – recovery from July 2016 groin surgery
Garrett Richards (SP) – 60-day disabled list (May 6) – torn right ulnar collateral ligament
Geovany Soto (C) – activated from 15-day disabled list (August 10)
Huston Street (RP) – 15-day disabled list (August 1) – right knee inflammation
Nick Tropeano (SP) – out of season – torn ulnar collateral ligament
C.J. Wilson (SP) – out for season – recovery from July 2016 left shoulder surgery
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
Cleveland and Los Angeles have met 629 times since the Angels came into the league in 1961. The Halos hold the edge, 325-304, in the all-time series. When the games have been played in Cleveland, the Angels have fared well, just one game under the .500 mark all-time.
When the Indians and Angels met on the west coast on the second weekend of June, Cleveland took two of three with Kluber and Salazar taking home victories in the opener and finale of the series. In fact, all three games were winnable for the Tribe as Bryan Shaw’s ninth inning meltdown on June 11 spoiled a three-run rally in the top of the inning by the Indians offense.
ESCOBAR HAVING A GOOD CAMPAIGN
There were those who expected Yunel Escobar to be dealt prior to the trade deadline after the continued strong play from the corner infielder.
In 101 games, he is hitting .319 with 130 hits, both tops on the club and some of the better marks in the American League. He is second on the team with 24 doubles and third with 54 runs scored. Seventeen of those runs have come in 23 games since the All-Star break while hitting .326.
Indians fans may remember his work against Cleveland earlier this season, when he clinched the Angels’ only win against the Tribe with his broken bat blooper in the bottom of the ninth off of Shaw for the seventh walk-off hit of his Major League career.
TROUT IS STILL REALLY, REALLY GOOD
Mike Trout leads the Angels in nearly every offensive category, which should not be a surprise at this point for the recent birthday boy.
Trout, who turned 25 on Sunday, leads the team with 113 games played, 88 runs, 25 doubles, 21 homers, 75 walks, 96 strikeouts, 18 stolen bases, a .422 on-base percentage, a .546 slugging percentage, and a .968 OPS and is second with 125 hits, three triples, 74 RBI, and a .312 average.
PUJOLS STILL PROVIDING PLENTY OF RUNS DESPITE DECLINE IN POWER
Albert Pujols, even at 36, is still providing run support to the Angels pitching staff.
He is tied for the team lead with 21 homers, which is off of his 40-homer pace from a season ago. While the power may be turned down a notch, the run production is still working at a high rate as he is just eight RBI short of matching his entire output of a year ago. He leads the club with 87 RBI this season after hitting 95 last season, but his career-high of 137 set in 2006 with St. Louis should be safe for the 16-year man.
NEW GUYER FITTING IN NICELY
The newest member of the Indians outfield bunch, Brandon Guyer, has made good use of his playing time against left-handed pitching while representing Cleveland in a handful of opportunities since being acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays on August 1 for a pair of minor leaguers.
In five games with the Tribe, Guyer is hitting .444 (4-for-9) with a double, two walks, a hit by pitch, and an RBI. He was acquired from the Rays due to his ability to play all three outfield spots while excelling against left-handed pitching, who he slashed .344/.488/.594 against in 64 at bats to open the season in Florida.
PLENTY OF STREAKING GOING ON AT THE PARTY AT NAPOLI’S
After taking Tuesday off against Scherzer, Mike Napoli extended his hitting streak to ten straight games with his early hit off of the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez.
The former draft pick of the Angels back in 2000 is hitting .389 over the course of his streak with two doubles, six homers, and eleven runs batted in. Another hit will tie the second-longest streak of his MLB career, one that included his first five big league seasons in an Angels uniform.
Jose Ramirez played in both games and had a five-hit series to extend his season-high hitting streak to 14 games. It hasn’t been like he is getting just a hit a night to run his streak up either – he is hitting .455 over the course of the 14 games with nine separate multi-hit efforts along the way.
The impressive numbers have pushed his season batting average from a healthy .285 to a prosperous .309.
Ramirez’s streak is the longest active streak in the American League and matches that of Carlos Santana (June 30-July 17) for the longest by an Indians player this season. With another hit in his next game, Ramirez will have the longest streak since Jason Kipnis hit in 20 straight last June.
CLEVELAND THAT LINDOR LOVES
All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor has hit in six straight games and returns home with one of the top averages at home this season among qualified hitters. He is fifth among AL hitters with at least 170 at bats this season with a .347 average. He leads the Indians in hits and runs on the season and is fourth in doubles, homers, and RBI.
For the season, he is hitting .305 with a .354 OBP and .453 slugging mark with 20 doubles, 14 homers, and 57 RBI.
STILL NEED RUN SUPPORT?
The often-criticized Indians offense has done more than its part throughout the year to support the pitching staff. At an average of 4.96 runs per game, they trail only Boston (5.42) for the most runs scored per game this season in the American League. Only Colorado (5.18) and Chicago (5.04) have scored more runs that Cleveland in the National League.
The offensive support has helped lead the Indians to the second best record in the AL, trailing only the Texas Rangers (68-47).
BYE BYE, PAPI
The Angels will return home to Anaheim to start a seven-game road trip. The Indians will host the Boston Red Sox to make up their cancelled matchup from the first week of the season. It will be the final game in Cleveland for David Ortiz, barring any postseason encounters between the two clubs.
Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images