Kluber excelling in past four starts
Right-hander Corey Kluber looks to continue the momentum from his last start when he takes the mound as Cleveland Indians open a three-game series Friday against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.
Coverage begins at 9:30 p.m. on SportsTime Ohio
His opponent, Angels left-hander Hector Santiago, is aiming to end a cold spell.
Kluber (5-6, 3.84 ERA) blanked the Kansas City Royals for six innings Sunday, scattering just two hits and two walks while striking out six. He exited game after a three-hour, 10-minute rain delay.
"I just tried to work ahead in the count because it puts things in your favor and keeps the pressure on the hitter," said Kluber, who threw 55 of his 82 pitches for strikes in Cleveland's 7-0 win.
Indians manager Terry Francona said, "He commanded extremely well. He used both sides probably as good as he has and just really pitched. His command was so good."
In his past four starts, Kluber, the 2014 American League Cy Young winner, is 3-1 with a 2.96 ERA.
Kluber is 0-2 with a 5.51 ERA in three career starts against the Angels, 0-2 with a 6.07 mark in two starts at Angel Stadium.
After winning six in a row, the AL Central-leading Indians (33-26) dropped two straight to the Mariners before taking the series finale Thursday night. They arrive in Anaheim sitting three games ahead of second-place Kansas City thanks, in part, to a two-run, eighth-inning home run by Tyler Naquin that propelled them to a 5-3 victory at Seattle on Thursday.
"What a huge lift for us," Francona said of Naquin, a left-handed hitter who has four homers in his past seven games.
The Angels have lost six of their past eight games and are coming getting swept in a four-game series by the Yankees in New York.
They will send lefty Hector Santiago to the mound to get things started. He was roughed up his last time out, giving up three runs on four hits and four walks over four innings Sunday at Pittsburgh.
Over his past four stats, Santiago was charged with 19 runs (18 earned) on 17 hits and 11 walks in 15 2/3 innings, a (10.32 ERA).
"He really struggled with everything," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times after Santiago's Sunday outing.
In 11 career appearances (six starts) against the Indians, Santiago is 2-1 with a 4.89 ERA.
The Angels (26-34) begin the day in fourth place in the AL West, a half-game ahead of the last-place Oakland Athletics.
"It definitely was a tough trip," center fielder Mike Trout said of the Angels' 2-5 trek to Pittsburgh and the Bronx. "Obviously, it didn't go the way we planned, but we got to turn the page and try to win the game tomorrow."
Trout insisted that, despite the losing, and the overall difficult season, optimism remains high in the Angels' clubhouse.
"It's obviously tough," Trout said. "None of us like losing, but it's still early in the season and we'll try to turn this thing around. ... The chemistry's there. We're all staying positive. We can't hang our heads now. It's too early in the season."