ANGELS (56-56) AT INDIANS (65-45)
1:10 p.m. ET; ST-OH, FS-W, MLB.TV
The Cleveland Indians (-1.5) routinely have gotten the better of the Los Angeles Angels (+1.5) over the last few seasons, and the first two games of this weekend’s series have done nothing to deviate from that trend.
After flexing their muscles with a pair of lopsided victories, the Indians aim to continue their mastery of the Angels on Sunday when the clubs complete their three-game series in Cleveland.
The Indians followed up a 7-3 series-opening win with a 7-2 triumph on Saturday to improve to a staggering 14-1 in their last 15 home games against Los Angeles.
Cleveland isn’t just overwhelming the Angels, it is manhandling the opposition during its last 20 contests. The Indians have averaged a robust 5.7 runs per contest in that stretch, during which they have won 15 times to move within three games of American League Central-leading Minnesota.
Francisco Lindor has played a significant role in that surge, as the All-Star shortstop belted a three-run homer on Saturday and carries a four-game hit streak (8-for-16) into the series finale.
Lindor also appears to have a fan in Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was shown celebrating his homer by enthusiastically drinking a beer while sitting in a suite at Progressive Field. Mayfield was also sporting a Lindor jersey.
“We all appreciate him,” the 25-year-old Lindor said. “We’re all a fan of him. What he did with the beer was pretty impressive.”
“We had good at-bats,” Lindor said. “We feed off each other’s energy. That’s why it’s contagious.”
The Indians look to keep their good fortune going against Los Angeles right-hander Jaime Barria (4-4, 6.28 ERA), who allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in five innings of a 7-2 setback versus Detroit on Monday.
Barria surrendered two homers in the loss to the Tigers and has been taken deep eight times in his last six outings.
The 23-year-old, who has a bloated 10.62 ERA on the road this season, received a no-decision in his lone career start versus Cleveland last season. He permitted three runs on six hits in five innings against the Indians on Aug. 3, 2018.
Cleveland right-hander Shane Bieber (10-4, 3.40) will look to rid the taste of his first loss in over a month when he takes the mound on Sunday.
Bieber allowed two runs on nine hits in seven innings of a hard-luck 2-0 setback versus Houston on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old Bieber won his lone career outing against the Angels last season after yielding two runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 4-3 victory.
Bieber will need to keep an eye on Justin Upton, who answered a 1-for-24 stretch in his previous seven contests with strong outing on Saturday. Upton went 1-for-3 with two RBIs for the Angels, who have lost seven of nine to fall to .500 on the season.
“We’re kind of cool as a team offensively,” Los Angeles manager Brad Ausmus said. “If we were swinging the bats better, it wouldn’t necessarily matter as much who they were throwing at us. We’d probably be getting our hits and scoring more runs. We’re in kind of a lull offensively.”
–Field Level Media