Los Angeles (75-45) at Cleveland (55-66)

Cloudy Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 59° F
  • Game info: 3:55 pm EDT Sat Aug 16, 2008
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Though the AL leader in wins cooled off the Los Angeles Angels offense, Mark Teixeira stayed hot.

The Angels newcomer hopes another big game at the plate can help the team avoid losing three straight for the first time since June as its series with the Cleveland Indians continues Saturday.

Acquired from Atlanta on July 30, Teixeira has been outstanding in a Los Angeles uniform. The slugging first baseman has hit .415 (17-for-41) with four homers and 13 RBIs over the last 10 games.

Teixeira, a career .370 hitter against the Indians with 37 RBIs in 38 games, had three more hits and an RBI on Friday in the opener of this series.

However, the rest of the Angels (75-45) had only five hits against Indians starter Cliff Lee in a 3-2 defeat. Lee tossed his third complete game of the season en route to his 17th win, shutting down a Los Angeles lineup which scored 48 runs over its previous six games.

“That might be the best lineup I’ve ever faced,” Lee said. “They are in first place for a reason.”

The AL West-leading Angels failed to reach double digits in hits for the first time in seven games.

The owners of baseball’s best record enter Saturday at risk of losing three consecutive games for the first time since a three-game skid from June 25-28.

The loss wasn’t the only bad news for Los Angeles on Friday. The team learned starting shortstop Maicer Izturis, who has committed just four errors all year, will miss the rest of the season due to a torn thumb ligament.

“It’s a tough loss,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We feel terrible for Izzy. We have to move on, but he’s an important part of what we’ve done.”

Erick Aybar will get the bulk of the playing time at shortstop. He went 0-for-3 on Friday.

Aybar and the Angels offense look to bounce back against the struggling Fausto Carmona (5-4, 4.91).

A 19-game winner in 2007, Carmona is 1-2 with a 10.42 ERA in four starts since missing two months with a strained left hip. The third-year right-hander did not get a decision on Monday when he allowed seven runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 13-8 victory over Baltimore.

“There are some signs there of what he does and does well,” Indians pitching coach Carl Willis told the team’s official Web site. “He needs to get more consistent with that.”

Carmona made his first start against the Angels on April 7 and did not receive a decision, surrendering an unearned run and four hits in six innings of a 6-4 defeat. He has not allowed an earned run in 11 2-3 career innings against them.

He’ll be opposed by John Lackey (9-2, 3.15 ERA). Since coming within two outs of a no-hitter at Boston on July 29, Lackey has faced the New York Yankees twice and did not get a decision either time as he allowed seven runs and 16 hits in 13 innings.

Lackey faced Cleveland (55-66) on July 23 and got the win in the Angels’ 14-11 victory despite allowing six runs and eight hits in five innings. He is 4-5 with a 3.41 ERA in 11 starts against the Indians, and he’s given up just three earned runs in 27 1-3 lifetime innings at Cleveland.

The right-hander could have a tough time getting through the heart of the Indians’ lineup.

Ben Francisco, who bats third, has six multihit efforts in his last eight games. Cleanup man Jhonny Peralta, batting .364 in his last 11 games, is 10-for-20 lifetime against Lackey and has hit .452 with seven RBIs in his last eight games versus the Angels. Shin-Soo Choo, the No. 5 hitter, is 14-for-33 (.424) with eight doubles over his last nine games.

Francisco, Peralta and Choo each had two hits as Cleveland avoided losing three in a row for the first time in more than a month.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Lackey StL vs. R. Hernández LAD
12-5 Record 8-7
3.75 ERA 5.44
130 K 58
40 BB 70
1.23 WHIP 1.62

Scoreboard

Saturday, Aug 16