The Cleveland Indians, fresh off of consecutive sweeps of the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners, continue their opening road-trip of the season beginning tonight in Anaheim against the L.A. Angels, who have won two straight and are in second place in the West, three games behind the Rangers.
The Indians and the Angels were both winners on Sunday, L.A. riding a strong start from Jered Weaver to a 3-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, and Cleveland getting a big early jump in Seattle and finishing off the sweep with stellar late-inning relief on the way to a 6-4 win over the Mariners.
The Tribe has an interesting task in the opener of the series, facing the Angels' Tyler Chatwood, who will be making his major league debut after pitching only 6 2/3 innings of Tripe-A ball in his career.
Chatwood will be getting the start instead of originally announced starter Dan Haren, because Haren pitched an inning in a marathon, 14-inning game on Saturday against Toronto, and it was decided to hold Haren back a day, and so he will pitch on Tuesday night against Fausto Carmona.
Talbot, in his first start of the season last Wednesday against the Red Sox, lasted 4 1/3 innings in an 8-4 Indians' win. Talbot allowed two runs on five hits, walking three and fanning seven, but could not last the five innings necessary to be eligible for the win. Talbot will try to deliver the latest in a series of brilliant starting efforts from the Indians, which has been the main contributing factor to the Tribe's seven-game winning streak, the team's longest since a seven-game run in the final two weeks of 2010.
Now that I think of it, counting the last nine games of last season and the first nine of 2011, Cleveland is 14-4 in their last eighteen games.
We'll take it.
The Indians have their work cut out for them against Los Angeles. But then again, they had their work cut out for them when they were 0-2 and had been outscored 23-13 on the season.
I would say that they responded well to those numbers. Now let's see if they can continue this roll and come back to Cleveland this weekend to face the Orioles and still be owners of first place in the AL Central.
Game-time is 10:05 Cleveland-time. With this winning streak, there might be some bleary-eyed people going to work on Tuesday morning, sheepishly admitting that, yes, they did stay up until well after midnight to see what this wonderfully-surprising baseball team might come up with next.