Major League Baseball
Angels-Indians preview
Major League Baseball

Angels-Indians preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 9:00 p.m. ET

CLEVELAND -- An extremely lopsided series will continue Saturday at Progressive Field when the Cleveland Indians play host to the Los Angeles Angels.

The first two games of the four-game series have been blowouts, as the Indians have outscored the Angels 27-7. The Indians won 14-4 on Thursday and 13-3 on Friday.

The Indians this year are using a facet of their game that hasn't been this productive since the heyday of speedy Kenny Lofton and the powerhouse Indians teams of the late 1990s. Cleveland leads the American League with 92 stolen bases, and outfielder Rajai Davis tops the league with 31 steals.

Making Davis' stolen base total even more impressive is that he is not in the lineup every day. Davis has only started 82 of the Indians' 113 games.


In the Indians' 13-3 win on Friday, however, Davis was in the lineup and had three of the Indians' eight stolen bases. The eight steals ties a 99-year-old Indians record for most stolen bases in a season. The record was set Aug. 27, 1917 vs. Washington.

"I thought our baserunning set the tone," Indians manager Terry Francona. "We stole bases. We didn't just run with abandon. We were intelligent. I thought it set the tone for the whole game."

In their 115-year history in the American League, the Indians have only led the league in steals six times, most recently in 1999.

"You just trust your instincts, and you go," Davis said. "It helps us as a team, and puts pressure on the defense."

The beleaguered Angels were ill-equipped to stop Cleveland's running game Friday.

"Gio didn't have much of a chance (to throw out any of the runners). We'll make some adjustments," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of catcher Giovanny Soto.

Add controlling the running game to the Angels' growing to-do list, as their losing streak has now grown to eight games. It's their longest losing streak since then lost eight in a row in July 1999 as part of a streak that eventually became an 11-game losing streak.

"Nobody is taking this lying down," Scioscia said. "We know we can play better than this and we're going to make the necessary adjustments."

The Angels should feel good about their chances Saturday as they will send Matt Shoemaker to the mound. Shoemaker has a streak of 18 consecutive scoreless innings against Cleveland and an 0.82 ERA in three career games against the Indians.

In Shoemaker's last start against Cleveland on June 11, he pitched eight scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts and no walks. In 22 starts this season overall, Shoemaker is 6-12 with a 4.07 ERA.

The Indians will counter with Mike Clevinger, who was originally drafted by the Angels in 2011. The Angels traded him to the Indians in 2014 for reliever Vinnie Pestano. Clevinger has made four spot starts for the Indians this year and the results have not been good: a record of 0-1 and a 6.97 ERA.

However, Clevinger has spent most of the year at Triple-A Columbus, where he has had a big year, going 11-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 17 starts. This will be Clevinger's first career appearance against the Angels.


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