After recording their best comeback win of the young season, the Cleveland Guardians look to build some much-needed momentum when they face the visiting Los Angeles Angels in the rubber match of a three-game series on Sunday.
Josh Naylor hit a three-run homer and Andres Gimenez added a solo shot during a six-run eighth inning in Cleveland’s 8-6 comeback victory against the Angels on Saturday. Naylor has homered in two straight games for the Guardians, who are hoping to build on the dramatic win.
“I still think for us to be where we want to be, we have to play clean baseball,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “We didn’t (Saturday), but they kept playing, and kind of an improbable win turns into a really good win for us.”
Los Angeles, which ended a 10-game losing streak at Progressive Field with a 5-4 victory in Friday’s series opener, will send left-hander Patrick Sandoval (3-1, 3.41 ERA) to the mound for the finale.
Sandoval received a no-decision after giving up four runs over 6 1/3 innings against the Houston Astros on Monday. He has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of his seven starts this season.
Guardians shortstop Amed Rosario has one hit in eight at-bats against Sandoval, who is 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA in four career starts versus Cleveland.
Cleveland will counter with right-hander Tanner Bibee (1-1, 4.30). After pitching well in his first two major league starts, the rookie allowed four runs on seven hits over 3 2/3 innings in a 6-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
Francona has been impressed with the 24-year-old Bibee, who has posted a 3.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first three outings covering 14 2/3 innings.
“There’s a lot to like with this kid,” Francona said after Bibee’s second career start back on May 2. “We’re going to enjoy watching to see how good he can get.”
Bibee has not yet faced the Angels.
Los Angeles received a boost on Saturday from left fielder Mickey Moniak, who was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake before the game on Friday.
A former first-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies, Moniak celebrated his 25th birthday with three hits, including a leadoff homer to begin the game, three runs and two stolen bases.
“Great ballgame for him,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “Really happy for him. … He’s been working his tail off on a lot of things, and it really showed (Saturday). You can tell on his swing how it’s freed himself up.”
Nevin is monitoring the status of third baseman Anthony Rendon, who exited Saturday’s game in the sixth inning with left groin tightness.
“You’re always concerned when somebody has something wrong,” Nevin said. “When I got to the mound to make the pitching move, he just said, ‘I don’t think I can move for a ball right now this way or that way.’ So I got him out of there, hopefully ahead of time. We’ll reevaluate him (Sunday). He was going to be off (Sunday), anyway.”
The Angels’ bullpen has been surprisingly strong this season, but Ryan Tepera and Andrew Wantz combined to allow six runs on six hits during the Guardians’ comeback on Saturday.
The Angels’ top two options are still closer Carlos Estevez and Matt Moore. Estevez has converted all nine of his save opportunities, while Moore owns a 1.35 ERA in 17 relief appearances covering 20 innings.
–Field Level Media