The Cleveland Guardians and Los Angeles Angels open a four-game series in Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday needing different kinds of miracles.
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The Guardians (67-73) trail Minnesota by six games in the American League Central after losing two of three at home to the Twins.
Cleveland pulled out a 2-1 win in the series finale on Wednesday behind five one-hit innings from Gavin Williams and four scoreless innings of relief from four pitchers. Emmanuel Clase tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his 38th save.
The Angels already helped the Guardians when they put six players on waivers last week and Cleveland claimed three of them — starter Lucas Giolito and relievers Matt Moore and Reynaldo Lopez — in an attempt to chase down the Twins.
Giolito was the losing pitcher in a 20-8 blowout defeat against Minnesota on Monday, and Moore blew a save opportunity in his second turn out of the bullpen during the Guardians‘ 8-3 loss on Tuesday.
The hard-throwing Lopez has fared the best among the ex-Angels, producing three scoreless innings in three appearances.
“It’s kind of weird,” Lopez said Wednesday. “We get claimed on waivers by Cleveland and a week later, we’re back in Anaheim. But it’s a good thing because I still have a lot of stuff there in my apartment. So I’ll have time to pick up all my stuff and bring it back here. I have everything there — my car and all my clothes.”
The reeling Angels would need an incredible finish to avoid their eighth straight losing season. They are 64-76 after being swept by the Baltimore Orioles to start the week, capped by a 10-3 loss on Wednesday. Los Angeles has lost six in a row and nine of the past 10.
It would be a bonus if superstar Shohei Ohtani returns to the lineup, with the soon-to-be free agent possibly closing out his last season in an Angels uniform.
Ohtani leads the AL with 44 homers, with the Chicago White Sox’s Luis Robert Jr. a distant second with 35. The Atlanta Braves’ Matt Olson tops the majors with 46.
Ohtani is shut down from pitching for the rest of the season due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament. On offense, the slugger missed only two games all season until he tweaked his right side on an awkward swing in batting practice on Monday, prompting him to sit out all three games against Baltimore.
Ohtani took some swings before the Wednesday game but was scratched.
Angels manager Phil Nevin said Ohtani possibly could be in the lineup on Thursday.
“When he comes in and he’s ready to play, he’ll play,” Nevin said.
The Guardians will send Cal Quantrill (2-6, 6.16 ERA) to the mound in the series opener. The veteran right-hander was sidelined for nearly two months because of shoulder inflammation before returning to action on Friday. He threw six innings and yielded two runs on two hits in a no-decision against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Quantrill is 1-1 with a 2.67 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) against the Angels. He faced Los Angeles on May 13 in Cleveland and wasn’t involved in the decision after throwing six innings of three-run ball.
Nevin said the Angels‘ plan for Thursday would be “some sort of a bullpen game” because he was unsure if right-hander Chase Silseth (4-1, 4.10 ERA) would be ready to start. Silseth was hit in the back of the head by an errant throw on Aug. 26 from a teammate in a game against the New York Mets.
—Field Level Media