Series Preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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Pitching Matchups:

If the Indians want any chance of winning tonight’s game, Ubaldo Jimenez will need to be on top of his game. Actually, that may not even be good enough. Jimenez is going to have to be dominant like we have really yet to see from him. He’s pitched much better of late, so there’s a very good chance that’s what we’ll see, but if he’s not and the Jimenez we saw for the first two months of the season shows up the Indians won’t have a chance. That’s not a rash over-exaggeration.

The Angels will counter Jimenez with Jered Weaver, who is quite possibly one of the best pitchers on the planet not named R.A. Dickey right now. Weaver comes into play with a record of 8-1, an ERA of 2.31, and a no hitter to his name. The only thing that’s been able to slow him down has been his own body. A back strain kept him out of commission for three weeks, but in his first two starts back he looked as good as ever.

Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Game two will allow us to watch Zach McAllister for the fifth time this year and the second time since replacing Jeanmar Gomez in the rotation. McAllister has been everything the Indians have needed this season—not dominant, but consistent. So far he’s given the Indians quality innings by throwing into at least the sixth inning in ever start. Can he keep this up, though? That’s the question. The Angels will serve as McAllister’s toughest matchup of the year to date.

For the Angels ‘Dan Haren, it’s been a tough season. Early on he was pitching well but falling victim to a lack of run support. Now he’s getting more then an adequate amount of run support and he can’t keep the opposition off the board. Baseball is a funny sport like that sometimes. Either way, Haren is more than capable of shutting the Tribe down. He’s shown an ability to do it in the past. This isn’t the best match-up the Indians could have hoped for if they need to bounce back after Weaver.

In the finale of the series, the Tribe will send Derek Lowe to the mound. It’s been a tale of two seasons so far for Lowe. Since shutting out the Twins on May 15, Lowe is 1-5 with and ERA of 7.33. Opponents are also hitting .333 and slugging .478 over those last eight starts. So what’s changed? Lowe’s sinker isn’t sinking and when he has pitched well, poor decision-making has done him in. If he can just get his sinker working in unison with his head again, then maybe Lowe can turn his season around before is spirals completely out of control.

Meanwhile, the Angels will send the struggling yet always dangerous Ervin Santana to the hill. Santana hasn’t been anything what the Angels expected out of him this year. Home runs and walks have been the primary culprit, especially early one this year. He’s allowing to many men to reach base by his own doing and then compounding those mistakes by giving up long balls. He is, however, capable of a dominating performance. Remember, this is the same pitcher who no hit the Indians during his last visit to Progressive Field.

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