The Cleveland Indians are opening up a lead against the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central. After sitting stationary for a few weeks with a 2 game lead, the Indians are suddenly up by 5 games. No question though, this thing is far from over. The Tribe can’t sit back and feel too comfortable with their lead, because everything can change rather quickly. As I write this article, the Indians aren’t doing that on Saturday night. They are currently up on the Angels 4-1 in the 3rd inning. The Tigers have a 2-0 lead and need to hold it, or the Indians very well could have a 6 game lead in the division as your read this. The Indians will close out their series against the Angels this afternoon, a series which saw them riding high. If the Indians keep their lead, they’ll be looking for a sweep on Sunday.
Trevor Bauer will lead the Indians on the mound tonight, who has been the weakest of links on their pitching staff. He is capable of pitching well, but we haven’t seen too much of it from him of late. With a 3.88 ERA, Bauer was playing much better earlier this season. It’s almost as if everything that was going Bauer’s way, was converted over to Corey Kluber. Bauer has been trending downward, with Kluber going up. Nevertheless, Bauer is still capable of stifling opponents, he’s a bit of a loose cannon and inconsistent in that sense. Bauer shut the powerful Nationals down last start, allowing no runs, but prior to that he was hammered for 7 runs against the Twins. He has trouble putting it all together over the course of several starts. Bauer and Jered Weaver will go head-to-head on Sunday.
L.A. Angels vs. Cleveland Indians
Jered Weaver (8-9, 5.19 ERA) vs. Trevor Bauer (8-5 3.88 ERA)
The Angels’ Jered Weaver has had a quality career, where he was in the upper echelon of pitchers for a few years. His best seasons came in 2011 and 2012, posting ERA’s of 2.41 and 2.81. He’s played the entire duration of his career in Anaheim, all the way back to 2006. Weaver is far off from those seasons, as he enters Sunday with an ERA of 5.19. He allowed 9 runs in his last two starts. Weaver has progressively gotten worse over the last three years, with a 3.59 ERA in 2014, 4.64 ERA in 2015, and now a 5.19. After pitching for ten years things like that will tend to happen. Weaver yielded a 4.32 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in his last three starts. The Angels will be happy when his contract expires after this season.
Instead of getting better, Bauer regressed in the second-half of the season. However, he is still on pace to post the best numbers of his career. Bauer’s previous best was a 4.18 ERA in 2014. He needs to be careful though, as he has given up at least 5 runs in three of his last six starts. Bauer owns a 5.65 ERA in his last three starts, but he looked nice against the Nats in his last outing. But that’s part of the problem with him, he’ll put together a masterful performance and then get tattooed the next time out. The last time he gave up 0 runs, he followed it up with 5 earned runs against the Yankees. I expect more than a few runs allowed by Weaver and Bauer here on Sunday. Therefore, the OVER looks like an attractive pick for Sunday afternoon.
PICK: OVER 9 RUNS (-120)