at LOS ANGELES ANGELS
First pitch: Tuesday, 10:00 p.m. ET
Line: N/A, Total: N/A
The Angels will be hoping to stay alive in the AL wild card race with a victory over the Indians on Tuesday.
Cleveland has a pretty good claim to be considered the best team baseball, as the Indians currently have the best record in the American League and have just been playing lights-out as of late. They are certainly getting hot at the right time and have their sights set on making it back to the World Series. As for the Angels, this is a team that recently decided to go all-in on making it to the postseason. Los Angeles currently trails Minnesota for the second spot in the AL Wild Card Game, but a lot can change in the next couple of weeks. The Angels do, however, need to hold their own in this series, as they can’t afford to dig themselves a hole at this point in the season. The starters in this Tuesday night matchup are set to be RHP Mike Clevinger (10-5, 3.21 ERA, 127 K) for Cleveland and LHP Tyler Skaggs (2-5, 4.37 ERA, 65 K) for Los Angeles. Clevinger has had a breakout year for the Indians in 2017, so they will definitely be comfortable with him on the mound in this one. Skaggs, however, has been up-and-down for the Angels all season. He’ll need to bring his A-game on Tuesday.
The Indians have one of the better pitching staffs in baseball and Clevinger has been a big part of that this year. He doesn’t necessarily go out and dominate games like Kluber or Carrasco, but he is a pretty safe bet to give Cleveland six or so innings of solid pitching on a nightly basis. Over his past four starts, Clevinger has allowed a total of one earned run in 23.2 innings of work. If he can pitch into the seventh inning and allow only one or two earned runs here then the Indians will almost definitely win this game. They’re facing a starting pitcher that is prone to poor performances, and it wouldn’t be shocking if he were to be a bit nervous facing a lineup like Cleveland’s. Keep an eye on guys like DH Edwin Encarnacion, 1B Carlos Santana and OF Brandon Guyer in this one, as the three of them have combined to go 8-for-12 with three homers and nine RBI against the lefty in their careers.
Tyler Skaggs will be heading to the hill for the Angels on Tuesday and the Angels need to see more of the Skaggs that has taken the ball in each of his past two starts. The lefty has given up just three earned runs over his past 13 innings of work, and he had a K-BB ratio of 14-2 in those games. If Skaggs is missing bats like that on Tuesday then that would be huge for Los Angeles. It’d also be big if he can pitch at least six innings in this one, as the Angels are not going to want to rely too heavily on their bullpen in this series. Offensively, 1B Luis Valbuena could provide a spark at the plate for the Angels. He is 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBI against Clevinger in his career, and he is not really a consistent source of production for this team. If Los Angeles doesn’t need guys like OF Mike Trout and DH Albert Pujols to do everything then the team will be a lot better off in this one.