It’s getting difficult to get a good read on the Indians. Just when you think they’ve figured some things out and are turning a corner, they go and lose five games in a row to the Astros and Yankees in what could be called embarrassing fashion. Then, when you think you’re finally ready to write them off, they go ahead and win three out of four games against a formidable Orioles team. Needless to say, the Jekyll and Hyde act is starting to get old.
In their five straight losses against the Astros and Yankees, the Indians were only able to plate 11 runs total. In their recently completed four game series against the Orioles, they scored 32 runs and looked like an offensive juggernaut thanks to an unlikely power surge. They were able to hit eight home runs against the Orioles in a four game stretch, something we haven’t seen from this team all year. They even came from the unlikeliest of places as Shelley Duncan connected for two blasts and Aaron Cunningham connected for his first of the year. No one should expect that type of offensive production to continue, but it does provide the Indians with some positive vibes moving forward.
They’ll need that positive mojo in the week leading up to the all-star game as they welcome the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
of the United States of planet Earth to Progressive Field. The Angels are absolutely rolling right now and are showing no signs of being the team that was struggling back in April and early May. In fact, it’s been a complete 180 in Los Angeles. They’ve gone from the cellar of the AL West to on track for a playoff spot.
Everyone and their mother thought the signings of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson would be the catalyst to catapult the Angels to the top of the AL West. Turns out it would be a 20-year old rookie who looks destined to be the AL Rookie of the Year and the man who finished second in that same race last year. Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, both of whom were named to the AL All-Star team, have lit a fire underneath the Angels offense. Both are playing out of their minds and helped carry the Angels while many of their veterans were struggling.
Now it appears that some of those veterans are beginning to turn it around, especially Pujols. He’s gotten better each and every month and finally looks like his old self. Along with the youngsters the Angels have formed one of the AL’s most formidable lineups. It’s a dynamic team that can beat up opposing pitchers, or run circles around them (a staple of Mike Scioscia managed teams). It’s this versatility and ability to beat teams in a variety of ways that’s made them so dangerous.
With that in mind, the Indians’ pitching staff is in for a rough couple of days. While the offense has turned things around the past few days, the pitching staff is still a mess. They’ve been better in holding Baltimore to two runs in two of their last four games, but they still don’t instill a lot of confidence, especially when they’re trailing. Can they find a way to keep the Angels’ big three in check and force the supporting cast to beat them? They had better, otherwise this could be a long three days.
Series Trivia: Mike Trout looks like a lock for the AL Rookie of the Year award. Who was the first and only Angel to win the award?