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Series preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Los Angeles Angels

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The Indians who have crept back to the outskirts of playoff discussion try to keep their slim hopes alive as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim visit Progressive this weekend.

Albert Pujols and Mike Trout have basically been the Angels offense this year
Albert Pujols and Mike Trout have basically been the Angels offense this year
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Tribe wraps up this quick homestand of five games as the Angels of Los Angeles of Anaheim of Orange County of the Sunshine State visit for three games this weekend. This will also conclude the Indians season series with the AL West. They currently have a 16-14 record against the west and need just one victory to finish above 0.500.

  • Friday 7:10 PM: Andrew Heaney (L) vs. Danny Salazar (R)
  • Saturday 7:10 PM: Garrett Richards (R) vs. Trevor Bauer(R)
  • Sunday 1:10 PM: Jered Weaver (R) vs. Corey Kluber (R)

The Upcoming Schedule: The Tribe heads right back on the road, playing three each in Toronto, Detroit and Chicago after this series concludes.

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Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is running a $1,000,000 fantasy football league for week 1. It's $5 to enter and first place wins $100,000. Click here to join.

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Playoff Watch: Tigers at Blue Jays, Yankees at Braves, Orioles at Rangers, Astros at Twins, Royals at Rays, Mariners at White Sox.

Team in a Box

Los Angeles Angels

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2015 Record

65-62

Runs/Game

4.0

13th

Runs/Game

4.0

5th

AL West

3rd

OBP

305

12th

H/9

8.5

7th

Last 10

5-5

SLG

388

13th

BB/9

2.7

5th

Last 30

11-19

Steals

38

14th

SO/9

7.4

10th

The Angels were on a serious downturn when the Tribe arrived in Anaheim earlier this month. But the Angels took two of three in a very competitive series. The Angels have continued their hot n cold second half, taking two of three from the Orioles, then getting swept by the White Sox, and losing three of four to the Royals. They then returned home to take three of four from the White Sox but were swept by the Blue Jays. They just took two of the three in the Motor City and now sit 5.5 games back of the Astros.

Projected Roster

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OPS

wRC+

C

Carlos Perez

R

192

225

583

64

1B

Albert Pujols

R

512

252

812

125

2B

Grant Green

R

33

219

461

19

3B

Kaleb Cowart

S

30

115

476

36

SS

Erick Aybar

S

492

275

644

83

LF

David Murphy#

L

303

292

767

112

CF

Mike Trout

R

530

295

970

169

RF

Kole Calhoun

L

530

264

758

115

DH

C.J. Cron

R

267

271

749

110

LF

David DeJesus##

L

308

237

639

81

C

Chris Ianetta

R

278

188

616

78

OF

Shane Victorino###

R

158

229

594

66

IF

Ryan Jackson

R

12

000

100

-67

# stats with Indians included; ## stats with Rays included; ### stats with Red Sox included

Since we last saw the Angels, the Conor Gillespie experience is kaput, with Cowart taking over. Green and Jackson have been sharing duties at second as Johnny Giavotella landed on the DL. Peez has taken over much of the catching duties as Ianetta has really struggled at the plate.

The Angels have struggled offensively the past two weeks, scoring just 38 runs in 123 games. The only hitter with an OPS over 800 has been our old friend Magic Hands Murphy. They have hit 13 homers though, Cron with four and Pujols and Calhoun both with three.

In the prior three game set, Cron was a force with a 500/625/667 line. Everyone else was sub-700 OPS, with Trout starting his poor August (by his standards) with a 322 OPS against the Tribe.

Projected Staff

Player

Throws

ERA

FIP

IP

WHIP

K/9

Garrett Richards

R

3.80

3.85

154.0

1.25

7.1

Hector Santiago

L

3.13

4.37

149.2

1.20

8.3

Matt Shoemaker

R

4.48

4.39

124.2

1.24

7.9

Jered Weaver

R

4.59

4.62

119.2

1.19

4.9

Andrew Heaney

L

3.39

3.69

66.1

1.13

6.4

Huston Street

R

2.61

3.55

51.2

1.08

8.2

Joe Smith

R

2.82

2.70

54.1

1.18

7.0

Jose Alvarez

L

3.81

3.54

54.1

1.22

8.1

Fernando Salas

R

4.62

3.12

50.2

1.13

10.1

Cesar Ramos

L

2.06

3.03

43.2

1.28

7.4

Trevor Gott

R

1.65

3.40

32.2

1.01

3.9

Cam Bedrosian

R

5.79

5.09

23.1

1.97

7.3

Heaney was acquired from the Dodgers last winter for Howie Kendrick. He joined the rotation in late June. He was great in his first six starts (1.79 ERA), but has been more hittable in August, with the Blue Jays destroying him for 8 runs in just 3.1 IP last time out. He has never faced the Tribe. Richards won the opener of the previous series, walking three, giving up 4 hits and four runs while striking out 11 in 7.1 IP. Weaver was on the DL during the last series. He was activated right afterwards and has a 3.91 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 6.3 in his four starts. The Tigers did score 6 off him in his last start. He is 9-4 in his 19 career Cleveland starts, with a 3.30 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 6.8 K/9.

The Tribe scored just 9 times last time out, with 7 of them coming off the starters. The bullpen was mostly untouchable.

On the Shelf

  • RF Collin Cowgill [60 day DL], possible early September return, on AAA rehab
  • 2B Taylor Featherston [15 day DL], possible early September return, on AAA rehab
  • 3B David Freese [15 day DL], possible August 31 return, on AAA rehab
  • 2B Johnny Giavotella [15 day DL], no timetable for return
  • LF Matt Joyce [15 day DL], possible early September return, on AAA rehab
  • RP Cory Rasmus [15 day DL], possible early September return
  • SP Tyler Skaggs [60 day DL], out for season
  • SP C.J. Wilson [60 day DL], out for season

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2015

1

2

333

9

9

500

2014

2

5

286

23

46

220

Last 5*

19

21

475

145

155

470

Last 10*

37

45

451

347

354

491

All-Time

299

324

480

2659

2810

475

*Does not include 2015 stats

Prediction: For the Tribe to really make some headway back into the playoff race, it would behoove them to sweep all three games. The pitching matchups favor the Tribe in two of three games and if Bauer is back to his first half stuff, it could be all three. Unfortunately, I think thye lose one of the first two but take the series 2-1.