LOS ANGELES ANGELS (38-32)
at CLEVELAND INDIANS (36-36)
First pitch: Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -110, Cleveland +100, Total: 8.5
After being blown out on Tuesday night, the Indians look to rebound at home against the Angels on Wednesday in game three of their four-game set.
Los Angeles has been having a solid season as the club sits four games behind the Athletics in the AL West while being the current leaders for the first wild-card spot. The Angels have been struggling of late though, losing four of their past six games. Their offense certainly showed up on Tuesday night though, as they hit four home runs and defeated the Indians by a score of 9-3 while getting a huge start from Matt Shoemaker (8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 10 K’s). Two of the homers came off the bat of OF Mike Trout (.311 BA) who has played out of his mind lately, coming into this contest with a 12-game hitting streak in which he has gone 19-for-49 (.388) with seven doubles, eight home runs, 16 RBI, 13 runs and nine walks. Cleveland has bounced back from a slow start to the season and had won three straight games before taking the loss on Tuesday. The Indians managed seven hits in the defeat, with one of them leaving the park off the bat 3B Lonnie Chisenhall (.368 BA). Chisenhall was the talk of MLB after his three homer, 9-RBI night, but is just 2-for-17 with six strikeouts over his past five games played. Taking the mound for visiting L.A. in this one will be veteran LHP C.J. Wilson (7-6, 3.50 ERA) who has lost three of his past four outings. On the other side of the diamond, Cleveland will send RHP Justin Masterson (4-5, 5.05 ERA) to toe the rubber, as he is coming off his shortest outing of the year (2 IP). The Angels have held their own on the road in 2014, splitting their 36 away games (18-18), but will have another tough task on Wednesday as the Indians have the best home record in the American League at 22-12. L.A.'s victory on Tuesday night actually brought these teams to an even 10-10 over the past three seasons while Cleveland holds a slight 6-5 advantage when playing at home in that time. As far as trends are concerned, the Angels are an impressive 22-7 when the total is 8 or 8.5 this season, while the Indians are 31-17 (.646) against AL West opponents over the past two years. On the injury front, the Angels have no significant injuries, while the Indians have OF Michael Brantley (neck) listed as day-to-day.
C.J. Wilson is having yet another typical season for himself, as his ERA has been below 3.85 with at least 13 wins in each of the past four years as a starter. He has never had great control, walking 3.8 batters per nine innings over his career, and is giving away free passes at a similar rate (3.5 BB/9) this season, but is also striking out the most batters (8.5 K/9) since becoming a starter in 2010. Wilson has also always done a great job keeping the ball in the park and has given up just nine homers in 92.2 innings (0.87 HR/9) on the year. Wilson was not able to keep the Braves from going yard in his last outing though, as he allowed four runs on six hits (2 HR) and two walks with eight strikeouts in a losing effort. He’s been great against the Indians over eight career starts, going 4-2 (4-4 team record) with a 2.50 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, including a fantastic outing in a win against them earlier this season on April 30 (8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 8 K’s). OF Michael Bourn (7-for-20, 3 extra-base hits, 4 RBI) and OF Nick Swisher (11-for-35, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 7 BB, 10 K’s) have seen the ball well out of Wilson’s hands. Meanwhile, C Carlos Santana (3-for-20, 7 K’s), 2B Jason Kipnis (1-for-8, 3 K’s), OF Michael Brantley (1-for-14) and SS Asdrubal Cabrera (4-for-22) have all had trouble in the matchup. L.A.’s bullpen has gone 10-7 this year with a 4.34 ERA and 1.38 WHIP, and has converted 16-of-26 (62%) save opportunities. Closer Ernesto Frieri (5.59 ERA, 11 saves) has been successful in his past nine save chances, but has allowed seven hits and five runs in his last two non-save situations.
Justin Masterson has been having a disappointing season after breaking out with a 3.45 ERA and 1.20 WHIP last year. He has really not found his control with 4.7 walks per nine innings this year, and has also kept just 64.3% of batters on base while getting unlucky with hitters producing a .324 BABIP. As a big ground-ball pitcher, Masterson has been able to do a great job limiting the number of home runs that his opponents have hit, letting just five balls leave the yard against him in 82 innings on the year (0.55 HR/9). He made a very quick exit in his last start when facing the Red Sox on Friday, lasting just two innings while allowing five runs on three hits and four walks with no strikeouts. That was his fourth start out of his past seven where he has given up at least five earned runs. But in his career versus the Angels, Masterson has been outstanding, going 4-1 (7-3 team record) with a 2.35 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, but did not do well earlier this year against them on April 28 when he earned a loss after 7.2 frames where he allowed seven hits and six runs (5 ER) while striking out five with two walks. The ball has looked like a watermelon coming from Masterson to OF Josh Hamilton, as he is 10-for-17 with two doubles, two homers and 5 RBI in the matchup. OF Mike Trout (4-for-8, 1 triple, 3 RBI) has also done well against him while SS Erick Aybar (3-for-21, 7 K’s) and OF Raul Ibanez (3-for-18) have had their troubles. The Indians’ bullpen has been great this season, going 17-8 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, and has converted 20-of-29 (69%) saves. Cody Allen (2.70 ERA, 7 saves) has taken over as the closer for the club, and is 7-for-8 in his save opportunities while striking out 39 batters in 30 innings of work.