This will be the Tribe's second trip to face Los Angeles this season. The Angels took two out of three against Cleveland April 11-13.
In the series opener tonight, Justin Masterson will try again for his sixth win of the season, when he opposes the Angels' Tyler Chatwood (2-1, 4.94).
Chatwood lost to the Indians in his major league debut on April 11, giving up homers to Asdrubal Cabrera and Matt LaPorta on the way to allowing four runs in five innings of a 4-0 Indians' win. Chatwood received no decision in his last outing, giving up nine hits and five runs in only four innings against the Tampa Bay Rays in a game eventually won by the Angels.
For the season, Chatwood has gone 27 1/3 innings, allowing 29 hits and 17 walks, but only 15 earned runs. Chatwood has struck out 13 in five starts, and has wins over the White Sox and Oakland since losing to the Tribe in April.
Masterson (5-0, 2.25 ERA) had his string of five straight games with a win broken last Sunday against the Tigers when he allowed three runs -- two earned -- in seven innings of a game the Indians eventually won 5-4. Masterson walked two and fanned seven in that outing, and surrendered seven hits to Detroit.
In his career Masterson has had good success against the Angels. In seven games, including four starts, Masterson is 2-0 versus Los Angeles, and has given up only nine earned runs in 30 innings for a 2.70 ERA. This will be Masterson's first appearance against the Angels in 2011.
The Angels are fifth in the majors with a .267 team batting average. They are led in hitting by Erick Aybar at .342, and have five players batting over .300 on the season. Howie Kendrick and Mark Trumbo share the team lead with six homers, and Trumbo leads with 17 RBI.
On the pitching side of the ledger, Los Angeles is also fifth in the majors with a 3.13 ERA as a team.
The Indians will be seeing two of the best later in this series when Jered Weaver and Dan Haren take the hill. Haren has already tossed a one-hitter at Cleveland this year in Anaheim'
The Tribe is tied for third in the big leagues with a .271 team average, led by Travis Hafner at .353. Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana each check in with five homers, and Asdrubal leads with 21 RBI.
The Indians' staff comes in at sixth in the majors with a team ERA of 3.31.
This series will continue on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, before the Tribe comes home and takes on Tampa Bay after a day-off on Monday. It is sure that the Indians will be seeing Tampa Bay ace David Price in that series, so runs will be at a premium this weekend and on into next week.
But runs were at a premium in Oakland and Cleveland was able to take two-of-three to maintain their 4 1/2 game lead over the Royals. There is no reason to think that -- with strong starting pitching -- the Indians can't continue the roll that has seen them go 8-1 in their last nine games.
Los Angeles enters this series in first place in the American League West, a game ahead of the Texas Rangers.