Just when you think the Angels have turned the corner and are finally making strides in the right direction towards the playoffs, they turn in back-to-back subpar performances against the Indians to kick off the weekend. Combining for just two runs on seven hits in 18 innings has dropped the Halos back to 8.5 games of the second AL Wild Card berth, which is currently occupied by the Oakland A’s.
Today, the Angels and Indians final game of the three-game series will be the feature of ‘Sunday Night Baseball’ on ESPN, taking part in the 4th annual “MLB Little League Classic”. Not only is it a chance for the youth of baseball to watch big leaguers in action, but it also gives perspective to the pros and helps them re-live the kid in all of us.
With the Angels starting rotation taking a hit this past week with Patrick Sandoval (Left lumbar spine stress reaction) and Alex Cobb (Right wrist inflammation) on the shelf for a longer period of time, Joe Maddon will turn to lefty Jose Suarez to salvage the finale versus Cleveland. Through 16 appearances (7 starts), the 23-year-old is 5-6 with a 3.88 ERA and opponents batting .231 against his arsenal of pitches.
Suraez went toe-to-toe against Gerrit Cole of the Yankees in his last start on Monday, delivering five innings while allowing just two earned runs and matching a season-best six strikeouts. He suffered the tough luck loss, moving his post All-Star break numbers to 1-4 with a 6.12 ERA in five starts. Oddly enough, he has fared much better on the road than back at Angel Stadium this season. His ERA is more than two-in-a-half runs better (3.05 in comparison to 5.68) and opposing batters are swinging just .204 in 41.1 innings pitched.
Interim manager for the Indians DeMarlo Hale will send former first round pick Cal Quantrill to the mound. The Canadian righty has been a mainstay amongst Indians pitchers this season, tossing a 3-2 record, 3.24 ERA in 33 games (15 starts). Through 102.2 innings Quantrill has a split of 34 walks to 80 strikeouts and limiting opposing home runs to just nine. Quantrill has made significant improvements since the All-Star break, making him one of the best pitchers in the American League over the past month. Over his last seven starts, he is 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA and a BAA of .205 in 41 innings pitched. However, last Monday against Minnesota was his shakiest start since the break as he allowed three runs on eight hits in five innings as the Indians fell to the Twins 5-4.
Player To Watch
First baseman Jared Walsh, who has struggled since the All-Star break, continues to find his stroke at the plate that made him widely successful early in April and May. Tonight’s matchup might be the thing that snaps him back into the groove, seeing that he feasts off right-handed pitching. In 267 at-bats, Walsh is leading the Angels by slashing .311/.383/.566 with 15 home runs and 50 runs batted in. Walsh showed a glimpse of returning to his patient, yet dominant swinging ways in Detroit earlier this week as he reached base on nine occasions (three hits and six walks) in just two games.
Angels News & Notes
- Justin Upton is currently sitting at 999 career RBI. If he reaches the 1,000 plateau, he will become the 292nd career MLB player to reach this milestone
- INF Kean Wong has been appointed the 27th man for tonight’s game
- Following tonight’s game, the Angels will enjoy an off-day tomorrow in Baltimore. This will be the team’s first off-day since August 9 and second overall in the past month
- Starting Rotation for 3-game series vs. Baltimore: Tuesday - Bundy, Wednesday - Ohtani, Thursday - TBD