Inside the Wigwam

By: T.J. Zuppe

Unfamiliar Foe:

The Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are set to being a three-game set Monday evening at Angels Stadium. It will be the first time the two teams have met since April 26-28, and second time the series takes place at the Angels home turf.

Indians Begin a Three-Game Series in Anaheim

The Indians have not had much luck in Anaheim as of late, losing six of the last seven series to the Angels out west. In fact, the Tribe has not taken a series from the Halos since May of 2005.

Even worse, since 2006, the Indians have lost 14 of the last 22 since 2006.

The match-up with the Angels is part of a seven game trip out west, in which the Indians were 2-2 in Seattle against the Mariners.

Brantley, Choo Providing 1-3 Punch:

Despite many struggles throughout the regular season for the Indians offense, lately the starting-nine has been led by two hitters in particular — Outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Michael Brantley.

After having a modest eight-game hitting streak snapped, Brantley moved forward to start another one. He is on a seven-game hitting streak, where he is 8-32 over that stretch. Dating even further back, since August 6th, he is hitting .290, with a couple doubles, a triple, two homers and 12 runs batted in, over 24 games. He has also scored 16 runs, and provided a bit of a spark at the top of the lineup.

Capitalizing on more RBI chances has been Choo, who over his last 14 games has collected two home runs, and 10 runs knocked in. He is batting .353 over that stretch, and .325 since August 13th.

The only real concern for Choo has been the lack of power recently, as those two big-flies are the lone ones in his last 22 games. Even so, Choo is closing in on his second consecutive 20-20 season, and needs three more stolen bases, and four more home runs in the last month, to reach that feat.

Carrasco With Lots to Prove:

Indians Pitcher Carlos Carrasco

Right-hander Carlos Carrasco will make his second big-league start of the season on Monday, against the Angels out west. In Carrasco’s lone other start this year, he pitched 7.1 innings, giving up three runs on six hits, striking out four against the White Sox on September 1st.

The Indians are banking on Carrasco to be the pitcher they envisioned, when they acquired him in a package for former Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee in 2009.

He had a very up-and-down filled year at Class-AAA Columbus, but pitched much better in the later stages of the minor-league season, before being recalled for expanded rosters at the beginning of September.

With the poor hitting by Lou Marson behind the plate, the inconsistencies of Jason Donald at second in his first true shot at the big league level, and the injury plagued career of pitcher Jason Knapp in the minors, the Indians are praying that Carrasco can become a viable option in the starting rotation, to make the Lee deal with Philadelphia look much better than it has thus far in Cleveland.

Follow T.J. Zuppe on Twitter @TJZuppe

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