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Series Preview: Angels @ Indians (Stop the skid!)

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Angels take to Progressive Field to try and stop their 6 game skid

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Well the Cubs have now won 9 in a row thanks to the Angels, and our Halos are on a 6 game skid.  Heading to Cleveland for a 4-game series against the 1st place Indians isn't exactly going to make things easier. The last time these two teams met, the Indians took two out of three back in June in Anaheim.  The Tribe almost took all 3 games when Street came in to a blow a save in game 2, but was Yunel Escobar came through walk-off Angels win.

The once hot Angels offense has scored only 3 runs in their last 3 games and it's not going to be helped by facing Cleveland's top two pitchers in the first two games.  Also, on Saturday, Matt Shoemaker goes up against rookie Mike Clevinger and on Sunday Jered Weaver's opponent is currently TBA.

The Indians have the best AVG and OBP since All Start Break (they passed up the Angels), and are second in runs scored, so their offense will be a challenge for Angels pitching.   They have fared just slightly better than Angels during August, winning 3 games to the Angels 2.

Biggest question: How deep will the current losing streak go?

Game 1

Jhoulys Chacin vs. Corey Kluber
Thursday, Aug 11th, 2016 @ 4:10PM

Guess we know who our 5th starter is now.  Welcome back Chacin?

Jhoulys Chacin v. Indians Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
17 1 .059 20.0 1 5.36
Corey Kluber v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
65 10 .154 18.3 1 3.48
Players/Stats to watch:
Albert Pujols & Mike Trout v. Corey Kluber (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
21 1 2 0 .048
Kole Calhoun v. Corey Kluber (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
10 3 2 1 .300
Jhouyls Chacin is getting the nod for the opener of this series, even though he hasn't started a game since July 1st.  Need I remind everyone how well he was pitching as a starter?  Chacin had a 7 inning Halo debut, followed shortly thereafter by a compete game, and then the bottom fell out.  Chacin had a 8.59 ERA in the month of June for his 5 starts with a 2.23 WHIP  He was basically a piñata.  He's done pretty well out of the pen with a 2.55 ERA and 0.906 WHIP.  Where he has been in the most trouble is the the 3rd through the 5th inning when hitters start seeing him a second and third time.
Kluber pitched a 3 hit complete game against the Angels on June 10th.  Yunel Escobar scored the only two runs that game.  Kluber is in the midst of a great season and often goes deep into games.  In his last 5 games he's pitched 7+ innings and allowed just 6 ER in 37 innings, while striking out 39.  Kluber has destroyed Trout and Puhols at the plate over the past 5 years so hopefully it's their time to bust out.
VERDICT: This matchup screams Indians.  Chacin really hasn't been a great starter while Kluber has been one of the best in the AL and has a history of shutting down two top players.
Game 2
Tyler Skaggs vs. Carlos Carrasco
Friday, Aug 12th, 2016 @ 4:10PM
Power matchup

Tyler Skaggs v. Indians Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
12 5 .417 26.7 2 14.63
Carlos Carrasco v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
25 3 .120 28.6 0 1.79
Players/Stats to watch:
Kole Calhoun, Pujols, Trout v. Carlos Carrasco (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
16 2 2 0 .125
Brandon Guyer v. Tyler Skaggs (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
2 2 2 1 1.000
After two scoreless starts, Skaggs gave up 4 runs in his last outing agains the Mariners.  He didn't look great, but wasn't completely horrible either.  The two homeruns he allowed sure didn't do him any favors.  Ignore the crazy FIP number above since the sample size is so small and Skaggs has barely faced any of the current Indians in his young career.
Carrasco's season hasn't been as top notch as Kluber, but he's not horribly far behind.  He was shelled by a hot Minnesota team a couple of starts ago, but has a 3.17 ERA this season with 96 Ks in 102.1 innings.  He does give up a long ball from time to time so hopefully Trout, Pujols, and Calhoun can break out of their huge slump against him.
VERDICT: Tough one to call, especially if Skaggs is back on this game, then we could have a pitching duel.

Game 3
Matt Shoemaker vs. Mike Clevinger
Saturday, Aug 13th, 2016 @ 4:10PM

Cy Rookie alert!

Matt Shoemaker v. Indians Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
51 7 .137 31.6 1 2.85

Players/Stats to watch:

None
Shoey pitched a gem agains the Indians back on June 11th when he shut them out over 8 innings while racking up 11 Ks.   Shoemaker has been pretty solid since May 11th expect for a pair of 5 run games in July.  He has been lights out against the Indians the past few years, holding them scoreless in 2016 and 2015, and allowing only 2 runs through 8 innings in 2014.  That's 31Ks in 22 innings, and only 2 runs allowed in his last 3 starts vs. the Indians.

Mike Clevinger is a 25 year old rookie who only has 4 big league starts under his belt.  He has 20.2 innings this year and a 6.97 ERA.  I'd be surprised if he makes it past the 5th or 6th inning.
VERDICT: Angels have a good shot at taking this game unless Cy Rookie shows off his stuff and Shoey gets the usual lack of run support.

Game 4

Jered Weaver vs. TBD
Sunday, Aug 14th, 2016 @ 10:10AM

Tough one for the Weave

Jered Weaver v. Indians Current Roster (Career)
AB HR BAA K% FIP
159 48 .302 17.4 5.55
Players/Stats to watch:
Mike Napoli v. Jered Weaver (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
32 11 4 3 .344
Carlos Santana v. Jered Weaver (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
27 15 8 2 .556
Lonnie Chisenhall v. Jered Weaver (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
19 7 5 2 .368

A good chunk of this Indians lineup has crushed Weaver so he'll have a tough job to close out this series.  At least it's an early game so you have nearly your entire Sunday available after Weaver leaves the mound.  The last time Weaver faced the Indians, he gave up 8 runs over 6 innings in Cleveland last August.  It was his worst start of 2015.

The hope here is that the Indians put up an equally not-so-great pitcher against Weaver in this series finale.

VERDICT: Tough to call without seeing the matchup, but Weaver has historically not pitched well against the Indians.

OVERALL VERDICT: I see a series split as a best case scenario here.  Game 3 is the best shot at a win.