Corey Kluber and Tyler Skaggs were sharp in their season debuts last week, and they'll try to pick up where they left off when the Los Angeles Angels host the Cleveland Indians in the rubber match of their three-game series at Angel Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
Kluber (0-1, 2.25 ERA) threw an eight-inning complete game for the Indians (2-3) on Thursday, but was outdone by a half-dozen pitchers for the Seattle Mariners, who combined to allow one run and five hits in the 2-1 victory.
The two-time AL Cy Young winner has made five starts in his career against the Angels (4-2), owning a 2-2 record and 4.31 ERA. He last faced the Angels on Aug. 11, 2016, and received plenty of support in the 14-4 victory. Kluber made his last start in Anaheim two months earlier, throwing a three-hit complete game in a 6-2 win.
Justin Upton is one of the few Angels to have success against Kluber. He's 5-for-16 in his career against the right-hander with three home runs. Albert Pujols is 0-for-13 and Mike Trout is 2-for-13 with a home run against Kluber.
"Whenever you're battling against Kluber, the best is going to come out of everyone," Indians catcher Yan Gomes told the Akron Beacon Journal last week.
Skaggs (1-0, 0.00 ERA) threw 6 1/3 shutout innings in a 2-1 victory at the Oakland A's on Friday, allowing three hits, striking out five and walking none.
"It's something to build off," he told reporters afterward. "I just want to take that experience into the next one and the next one and the next one."
Skaggs has made three starts in his career against the Indians and is 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA. The left-hander faced Cleveland on Sept. 19 at Angel Stadium and gave up two runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings of the 6-3 loss.
The Los Angeles offense should be confident after five players hit home runs Tuesday night in a 13-2 victory against Cleveland, ending a 12-game losing streak against the Indians. Two of the home runs came just above the new yellow line on the wall that extends from right to right-center. Before this season, the wall had to be cleared for a home run.
Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani made his home debut to rousing success, collecting three hits, including a three-run homer that cleared the wall in right-center and gave the Angels a 6-2 lead in the first inning.
A main concern for the Angels continues to be injuries to their starting pitchers, however.
Matt Shoemaker was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday with a right forearm strain, the second starting pitcher to be put on the DL this season.
Los Angeles pitchers have also combined for 26 walks this season
One of the few bright spots for the Indians in the one-sided loss Tuesday night was third baseman Jose Ramirez, who blasted a two-run homer in the first inning to end an 0-for-15 start to the season.
Brandon Guyer might be a good option at catcher Wednesday, as he's 4-for-5 off Skaggs with two home runs. Yonder Alonso and Edwin Encarnacion are both off to strong starts and they are each 3-for-7 in their careers off Skaggs, both with a double.