Let’s take a few over-under bets on this series:
Number of times it is mentioned on the broadcast that Terry Francona’s son works for the Angels now = 7.5
Games in which Francona outmanages Scioscia = 1
Number of tweets/blog comments about how the Angels should’ve fired Scioscia and hired Francona when they had the chance = 1,249.5
I’ve got the overs on all of them.
Not surprisingly, the Indians led for the first few years of this series, but in 1967, the Angels took the lead and haven’t looked back. The Tribe actually did get within one game of tying it up in 1976, but the gap once again widened. Cleveland hasn’t gotten closer than 10 games since. In recent years, you know the ones where the Indians are good again and the Angels not so much, Cleveland has taken the season season series. In fact, the Tribe has won the last four games between these two, including a sweep of the Halos in Anaheim last August.
Mike Trout has faced Masterson six times and walked twice and homered twice. Erick Aybar has faced him quite a bit and had almost no success. Let’s hope Scioscia realizes that and abandons the Aybar-in-the-five-hole experiment as a result. Howie Kendrick hasn’t been much better, which only supports my theory that Howie should be benched or dropped in the order against sinkerballers like Masterson. Finally, if history is any indicator, this is not a good match-up for Raul Ibanez, so he might be on the bench once again in this one.
TUESDAY, 4/29: Jered Weaver vs. Corey Kluber
Wow, David Murphy can’t do a thing against Weaver and he has had more than ample opportunity to do so. Carlos Santana portends to be a bit of a problem, but Weaver has dealt well with Cleveland otherwise.
Kluber has actually been around for a little bit, but never managed to face the Angels. In fact, Raul Ibanez has two plate appearances against him and that is it. Of course, all I can remember about Kluber is the absurd and obviously false rumor from a Cleveland sports radio wannabe claiming the Halos were going to swap Trumbo for Kluber.
WEDNESDAY, 4/30: C.J. Wilson vs. Carlos Carrasco
Well, this isn’t good. Nick Swisher has made a career out of hammering Wilson, which really sucks because Swisher is annoying. Michael Bourn and Ryan Raburn have given C.J. problems as well. The good news is Wilson has done well against some of the bigger names like Santana and Kipnis. The Tribe were likely to load up on righties in this game anyway, but history practically mandates that they do.
There was enough info for a chart, but not really enough to make the chart worth talking about. Either way, Carrasco is kind of a mess and the Angels should light him up.
This isn’t a prediction, it is wishcasting. I am calling for a sweep. I watch this team and it feels like they are ready to break through. They keep finding a way not to, but I think it is right there for the taking. This match-up is perfect for them. The Indians struggle to score, so they are the least likely to take advantage of the Angels pitching. They also give up a lot of runs, so this Halo offense could light them up. This should be a sweep.
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
It won’t be a sweep. In fact, I think they’ll probably lose two of three because this offense is so dependent on Trout, Pujols and Kendrick right now. Aybar and Iannetta chip in now and again, but otherwise, the lineup is full of garbage. Until Calhoun and Hamilton come back and either Freese or Ibanez start hitting, this is a very top-heavy offense and it is going to go into some deep funks if the top guys don’t perform.