Indians hoping to maintain dominance over Angels
The Indians (2-2) beat the Angels 6-0 in the opener of their three-game series Monday night, getting an inside-the-park home run from Edwin Encarnacion to start the scoring, his third home run of the season.
Tyler Naquin also homered for Cleveland, an excellent sign for the left fielder, who had a solid rookie season two years ago, including twice earning American League Rookie of the Month honors, but a lower-back injury limited him to 19 games with the Indians last season and 80 with Triple-A Columbus.
Naquin told Fox Sports Ohio after the win Monday that he’s elated to be healthy again.
“It’s everything. You ask any player,” he said. “You’re banged up, man. It’s tough to be the same ball player that you really are. Just being able to get reads off the bat, be able to bust it down the line, even the strength in your legs in the batter’s box.”
The Angels (3-2) won three of their first four to start the season for the first time in 10 years, but haven’t been getting much from the middle of the lineup.
The hottest hitter in the Angels’ lineup continues to be shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who had his third multi-hit game Monday and is 9-for-20 on the season.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Shohei Ohtani will make his home debut as the designated hitter Tuesday. The Japanese pitcher and hitter made his first pitching appearance with the club Sunday at the Oakland A’s, allowing three runs and three hits over six innings in the 7-4 win.
Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin will make his season debut for the Indians after going 10-9 last season with a 4.98 ERA. Tomlin had one of the lowest walk rates in the majors last season, issuing 14 in 141 innings for a 2.4 rate.
He’s 2-2 in his career against the Angels with a 3.99 ERA in 38 1/3 innings.
Angels second baseman Zack Cozart came over to the American League after eight seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and has hit well against Tomlin during interleague play, going 8 for 17 with a home run, two doubles and a triple.
Calhoun is 5 for 8 in his career off Tomlin, and Mike Trout is 5 for 9 with a home run. Pujols is hitless in nine at-bats against Tomlin, however.
Tomlin finished spring training with a strong outing, allowing two runs and three hits without a walk in 6 2/3 innings on March 25 against the Reds.
Garrett Richards (0-0. 7.20 ERA) started the season opener against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday and navigated through the first four innings before giving up a four-run lead in the fourth. Oakland eventually won 6-5 in 11 innings.
“He showed some electric stuff at times, and at times he lost his release point,” Scioscia said after the game. “I know he’s out there trying to make pitches. … He’ll be better next time out.”
He’s 1-0 in his career against the Indians with a 4.40 ERA in 14 1/3 innings.
Encarnacion is 5 for 12 with two home runs off Richards.