Major League Baseball

Already fan favorites, new Indians ready to win

mlb6ANGELS (56-43) AT INDIANS (63-45)
7:10 p.m. ET; AT-OH, WKYC 3, MLBN, FS-W, MLB.TV

The Yasiel Puig/Franmil Reyes Era began with a few strong steps before the Cleveland Indians (-1.5) were eventually tripped up by a dominant pitcher and a late uprising.

Now, after losing three of their last four contests, the Indians aim to regain their footing on Friday, when they open a three-game series against the visiting Los Angeles Angels (+1.5).

Puig and Reyes each recorded a hit — but were each also thrown out at the plate — in Cleveland’s 7-1 setback to Houston on Thursday.

Both sluggers are being looked upon to provide a jolt to the Indians’ offense after being acquired in a three-team, seven-player swap with the Cincinnati Reds (+1.5) and San Diego Padres (+1.5) before the trade deadline Wednesday.

The initial review was positive in the mind of bench coach Brad Mills, who served as interim manager after Terry Francona underwent unexpected eye surgery earlier on Thursday.

“I thought they were really good,” Mills said. “Puig hit those two rockets his first couple times up and Reyes got the base hit. I think they are feeling themselves out with a new organization and new group of teammates and so forth. The at-bats they put together I thought were pretty good.”

The crowd at Progressive Field apparently thought so as well, as it gave loud ovations to Puig and Reyes.

“(The crowd) was giving me a lot of love today,” Puig told reporters after the game. “When they heard my name, everybody in Cleveland was excited. I want to say thank you for this opportunity and we’re gonna be here to do the best we can to help the team win.”

Puig was in the lineup after he filed an appeal of a three-game suspension for his role in a brawl between his former team, the Reds, and the Pittsburgh Pirates (+1.5). The brawl happened as the trade was being finalized.

Reyes, Puig and Co. will look to provide some offense Friday for Cleveland right-hander Mike Clevinger (5-2, 3.28 ERA), who will bid to win his fourth straight start.

Clevinger improved to 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA with 41 strikeouts in five July starts (31 innings) after allowing one run on eight hits in seven innings of a 9-1 romp at Kansas City on Saturday. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter.

The 28-year-old Clevinger, who sports a 3-0 mark with a 3.29 ERA in five career starts against the Angels, has flustered Albert Pujols (0-for-11) and Mike Trout (1-for-8).

Los Angeles left-hander Dillon Peters (2-0, 3.06) will provide the opposition in the series opener after permitting five runs on seven hits in four innings of a no-decision versus Baltimore on Saturday.

Peters, who is slated to make his 20th appearance and 14th start, has yet to face Cleveland in his career.

The Angels failed to capitalize on what was perceived as a favorable homestand, losing five of seven to struggling Baltimore and Detroit following Wednesday’s 9-1 setback to the Tigers.

Trout’s American League-leading 35th homer and franchise-best 13th in July did little to provide a positive spin on the stretch in the eyes of Los Angeles manager Brad Ausmus.

“We don’t like it. But it’s on us,” Ausmus told the media following the loss. “We have to right the ship. We have some pretty good teams coming up on this road trip. We’ve got to right it, quick.”

–Field Level Media

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