Game No. 25: Los Angeles Angels (11-13) vs. Cleveland Indians (11-14)

By Jose Serrano

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

A 4-5 road trip could have gone much favorably for the Angels. Thanks to an ineffective bullpen and lack of clutch hitting, four of five games were decided by one run including Sunday’s 4-3 loss at Yankee Stadium. Despite Garrett Richards limited New York to two earned runs through seven innings but received a no-decision due in large part to an offense that went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

Luckily Texas and Oakland both lost yesterday, leaving the Angels 3 1/2 games back in division play heading into a pivotal nine-game home stand that includes the Rangers and Yankees. Tyler Skaggs gets things going tonight with his first-ever start against the Cleveland Indians.

Pitching Matchup– Tyler Skaggs (2-0, 3.21 ERA) vs. Justin Masterson (0-0, 4.50 ERA)

Skaggs is one of the better ground ball-inducing pitchers when his curve and change are working. Otherwise, they get too much of the plate and batters tee off, hitting .283 when pitches are left down the middle, according to Baseball Reference.

After a stellar debut in Houston, Skaggs allowed four earned runs in each of his next two starts. He bounced back against Washington last Tuesday, tossing seven innings while scattering three hits. That success doesn’t translate to Anaheim where his 5.54 ERA has led to two no-decisions.

One year removed from a 14-win campaign, Justin Masterson hasn’t found his comfort zone in 2014. After shutting out Oakland on Opening Day, Masterson labored against the White Sox and Twins, yielding eight walks and 10 runs in 14 innings. He’s settled down in recent weeks, but still hasn’t claimed his first victory.

Angel Stadium may a turning point for Masterson. He’s managed a 2.45 ERA in five starts lifetime against the Halos and holds a 2.14 ERA in Orange County- a career in any ballpark where he’s pitched at least twice.

Walk offs:

  1. Last year, Cleveland swept the Angels in Anaheim for the first time since 1999.
  2. Joe Smith faces the Indians for the first time since leaving during the offseason.
  3. Cleveland’s 4-5-6 hitters were a combined 0-for-29 in their weekend series with San Francisco.

TV: 7:05 p.m. PT, Fox Sports West, Sports Time Ohio

Radio: KLAA 830, WTAM 1100