Los Angeles Angels vs. Cleveland Indians August 20 Preview
Friday night starts a three-game series of American League teams as the Los Angeles Angels take on the Cleveland Indians. The Indians will host this one at Progressive Field, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 pm ET.
The Angels come into this one off of a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers. In Thursday’s finale, the Angels had an improbable 13-10 win after getting down 10-2 after five innings. In the comeback win, both Max Stassi and Phil Gosselin homered for Los Angeles.
After dropping two of three to the Minnesota Twins to start the week, the Indians enjoyed an off day on Thursday. Coming into Friday’s game, the Indians are 4-6 in their last 10 games.
The Indians are the favorite playing at home in Friday’s contest. They are -120 to win while the Angels’ moneyline sits at +102. The runline features Los Angeles +1.5 (-184), and the over/under for total runs is 9.5.
The Angels will send righty Jaime Barria (2-1, 4.71 ERA) to the mound on Friday. In his last start, an 8-2 loss to the Houston Astros, Barria went just three innings and allowed three runs on seven hits.
The Indians will counter with lefty Sam Hentges. In 19 appearances (10 starts), he is 1-4 with a 7.95 ERA, 2.04 WHIP, and has struck out 49 in 48.2 innings.
By The Number
Offensively, the Angels have been the more solid team thus far this season. They rank 14th in scoring averaging 4.51 runs per game (4.07 on the road). The Indians rank 18th, averaging 4.36 runs.
It is Cleveland that holds the advantage on defense. They currently rank 17th overall in scoring defense allowing opponents an average of 4.65 runs per game. The Angels fall to 23rd, allowing opponents 4.88 runs per game.
Angels Try To Stay Above .500
At 62-61, the Los Angeles Angels find themselves in fourth place in the AL West, 10 games behind the Astros. While their postseason hopes may be dwindling, the Angels hope to stay above .500 as they travel to Cleveland.
While the Angels have struggled in the standings, they still have the best player in the game on their team. Shohei Ohtani has been absolutely remarkable this season and currently is the odds-on-favorite to win the AL MVP at -2500.
Offensively, Ohtani is currently hitting .272/.367/.648 with 40 home runs, 88 runs batted in, and 82 runs scored. While he is not pitching Friday, he has also been dominant on the mound going 8-1 with a 2.79 ERA.
Over the last week, Phil Gosselin has also been swinging a hot bat. In that span, he is hitting .444/.444/.833 with two home runs and three runs batted in.
Indians Hope To Get Back On Track
Unfortunately for Indians’ fans, the wheels have fallen off a little bit as of late. They are 4-6 in their last 10, 58-61 overall, and now sit 11.5 games back in the division.
Like the Angels, the postseason is getting more unrealistic by the day, but the Indians would still love to finish the season strong.
Leading the team offensively is third baseman Jose Ramirez. He is currently hitting .254/.338/.536 and leads the team in home runs (27), runs batted in (75), runs (77), and stolen bases (14).
Only a handful of players for the Indians have faced Barria in their career, and most don’t have too much success. The only player with any level of success is Oscar Mercado. Despite having just one at-bat, he is one for one with a home run.
Can Indians Neutralize Ohtani?
These two teams have some similarities. They both had expectations of contending this season, and both have fallen flat on those expectations.
Cleveland will face off against a pitcher who has struggled this season in Sam Hentges. The real question is whether the offense can produce and if they can keep Shohei Ohtani in check.
If they can, the Indians have a good chance of taking Friday’s home game.
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