The Cleveland Indians are sitting in the American League Central twiddling their thumbs waiting for the postseason to begin. Unlike other divisions, the Indians have been firmly cemented as the divisional winner weeks ago. No one has cared to step up and challenge the Indians, so they’ve gotten a free ride in the AL Central. The Twins were expected to be their challenger, but they’ve been a mega bust in 2019. Minnesota failed to build off what was a good year for them in 2017. They exceeded expectations by getting to the play-in game to begin with. That was a win for them even though they were dispatched by the Yankees. Nevertheless, the Indians are going to cruise into the postseason without a threat in sight.
The Indians haven’t been tested without any pressure thus far. While this has been a cakewalk for them, it could be a double-edged sword going into the postseason. Their opponent, whoever it is, had a tougher road there than the Indians. The Tribe have been the team flying under the radar in the American League, though. While everyone talks about the Red Sox, Yankees, and Astros, the Indians are the forgotten team. It could be dangerous to take a team like the Indians lightly, but from what we’ve seen so far from them, they’re not on the same level as the Red Sox or Astros. Anything can happen in the postseason, so we’ll see how it goes, though. The Indians looked like nothing like a postseason team last night, as they took a hard loss against the Angels at home. They’ll look to bounce back with ace Corey Kluber on the hump. Head below for our free Angels vs. Indians pick.
L.A. Angels vs. Cleveland Indians Pick
Felix Pena (1-2, 5.23 ERA) vs. Corey Kluber (13-6, 2.79 ERA)
Mike Trout wasn’t in the lineup on Friday night, but it didn’t matter to Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani had a career night, as he got 4 hits and 2 long balls to lead the Angels to a 7-4 win. Ohtani is now the first player since Babe Ruth in 1921 to have double-digit home runs and multiple wins as a pitcher. This season might have played out a little differently for the Angels if Ohtani had been healthy enough to play both roles.
In fact, the Angels were rolling along before Ohtani went down. Trout is currently day-to-day after injuring his wrist stealing a base against the Rays on Wednesday. Felix Pena will get the start for the Angels Saturday. He enters with a pedestrian ERA of 5.23 in 32.2 innings. After seeing 25 appearances out of the bullpen in 2017 with the Cubs, the Angels have him in the rotation due to injuries. This was the first season in his three-year career that he has been starting. Pena got smacked around for 7 runs in his last outing. He holds an 8.71 ERA and 2.03 WHIP in his last three outings.
Meanwhile, Kluber is coming off a hot start against the Tigers. He held them to 1 run in 7.1 innings of work. Kluber has been lights out against the Angels in 100 at-bats. They’re hitting just .160, with Albert Pujols the biggest loser, as he’s going 0-for-16 against Kluber in his career. Kluber has posted an ERA of 2.24 and 0.93 WHIP at home in Cleveland this season.
The Indians brought in closer Brad Hand to help out the bullpen. They also just activated Andrew Miller from the 60-day DL. Miller got an inning of work last night and got through it without any damaged allowed. Adam Cimber was nailed for 3 runs on Friday, which was their ultimate undoing. However, Miller will see more action if he looks fine. Friday was a rare win for the Angels in Cleveland, as it was only their 6th win in 17 games at Progressive Field. I like the Indians chances of returning the favor behind Kluber on Saturday.