Cleveland Indians (94-57 SU, 76-75 RL, 57-84-10 O/U) vs. Los Angeles Angels (76-74 SU, 74-76 RL, 63-77-10 O/U)
MLB: Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 4:07 p.m. EST
The Line: Cleveland Indians -145/Los Angeles Angels +125. Total: 8.5.
The Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Indians will wrap up a three-game series when they square off at Angel Stadium on Thursday afternoon. Los Angeles dropped the opener on Tuesday for its second consecutive setback. The Indians have gotten right back in a gear following a rare loss to Kansas City with three wins in a row.
Cleveland has won a laughably amazing 25 of its last 26 games, and Tuesday’s 6-3 victory over the Angels was its 12th straight on the road. Austin Jackson and Jay Bruce combined for seven of the Indians’ 14 hits in the series opener. Jackson went 4-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, while Bruce was 3-for-4 and a home run short of the cycle to go along with an RBI and a run scored. Edwin Encarnacion and Roberto Perez also turned in multi-hit performances for Cleveland.
Right-hander Danny Salazar is taking the mound for the Indians on Thursday. Salazar is a mediocre 5-6 with a 4.52 ERA through 21 appearances (17 starts) this season. The 27-year-old is back in the rotation following to relief stints that came on the heels of a Sept. 5 start in which he failed to get out of the first inning against the White Sox (Cleveland still won 9-4).
Need to make a move
The Angels are sliding downward at an inopportune time and are hoping to rebound against by far the hottest team in baseball. The visiting Cleveland Indians on Wednesday in the middle contest of their three-game series. The Angels’ loss of Tuesday’s opener was their seventh setback in the last 11 contests and represented another missed opportunity to gain ground on Minnesota in the race for the second American League wild-card spot. Los Angeles, which has scored only seven runs over its last three outings, is 1.5 games behind the Twins with only 12 remaining. Mike Trout is just 2-for-17 in his last five. Left fielder Justin Upton hit his 32nd homer on Tuesday to set a new career high, while second baseman Brandon Phillips (back) returned from a two-game absence and went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Parker Bridwell will oppose Salazar on Thursday. The right-hander is a stellar 8-2 with a 3.71 ERA through 18 appearances (17 starts) in 2017. Bridwell has turned in two straight quality starts following a pair of disastrous performances in late August (seven runs in three innings) and early September (six runs in three innings). He most recently faced Texas this past Saturday, when he tossed six scoreless innings while allowing three hits and two walks in a 2-0 victory.
The Cleveland Indians are:
- 46-12 in their last 58 overall
- 37-18 in their last 55 road games
- 36-17 in their last 53 games against the American League West
The Los Angeles Angels are:
- 0-4 in their last four games against the American League Central
- 1-4 in their last five home games against teams with road winning percentages over .600
- 1-4 in their last five games that are the third in a series
Until something changes (if it ever does) in their blistering level of play, there is simply no reason to pick against the Indians. They are 25-1 in their last 26 outings. Eight players with at least 16 at-bats in September are hitting .311 or better this month. Cleveland is 46-12 in its last 58 overall, 37-18 in its last 55 on the road, 10-1 in its last 11 on the road against opponents with winning home records, 36-17 in its last 53 against the American League West, 43-11 in its last 54 on grass, and 7-0 in its last seven that are the third in a series. The Angles are 0-4 in their last four against the American League Central, 1-4 in their last five at home against opponents with road winning percentages over .600, 1-4 in their last five that are the third in a series, and 8-20 in the last 28 meetings between the two teams. Count on those trends continuing.