Cleveland Indians right-hander Triston McKenzie knew he had the goods from the get-go of his last start. Twenty-three outs later, the notion of a perfect game was still on the table.
After settling for a one-hit gem against the Detroit Tigers over a career-best eight innings, McKenzie will look to ride the momentum of that outing into his Saturday start against the visiting Los Angeles Angels.
“As soon as I don’t give up any hits in the first two innings, I go, ‘I’ve got a no-hitter, a perfect game … whatever,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie (2-5, 5.12 ERA) struck out a career-high 11 batters in the Indians’ 11-0 romp over the Tigers on Sunday. The 24-year-old will face the Angels for the first time in his young career.
McKenzie benefited from an 11-0 lead after three innings in his last start.
Cleveland also raced out to an early advantage on Friday in the series opener, thanks to Franmil Reyes’ three-run homer in the first inning. The Indians were ahead 5-0 after two innings and cruised to a 9-1 victory.
Reyes added a two-run single in the sixth inning to show signs that he’s working his way out of a pronounced slump. He was 2-for-33 with 11 strikeouts in his previous nine games.
“I can’t lie. I was feeling really bad, really upset,” Reyes told Bally Sports Cleveland. “I also told (Ty Van Burkleo) the hitting coach, ‘Hey, can you please find my GPS.’ He was like, ‘Why?’ I was like, ‘I lost half the plate.'”
Reyes has found his stride against the Angels this season, going 6-for-16 (.375) with four extra-base hits (two doubles, two homers) and seven RBIs.
Like Reyes, Jose Ramirez has homered in back-to-back games for the Indians.
Ramirez has three homers, eight RBIs and six runs during his seven-game hitting streak. He is 5-for-14 (.357) with two homers, four RBIs and five runs against the Angels this season.
Myles Straw, who had two doubles and a single on Friday, has hit safely in 16 of 20 games since being acquired by the Indians on July 30.
While Cleveland amassed 15 hits in the series opener, Los Angeles mustered just four — with Kurt Suzuki accounting for half that total.
David Fletcher had an RBI single for Angels, who saw their three-game winning streak come to a halt. Fletcher is riding a four-game hitting streak on the heels of a 2-for-16 slump.
Angels rookie left-hander Reid Detmers (1-2, 7.04 ERA) will take the mound on Saturday looking to feed off the momentum of his best start of his young career.
Detmers allowed 11 runs on 13 hits in his first two starts combined before permitting just one and three, respectively, over six innings in a 3-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Sunday.
The 22-year-old is making his fourth career start and his first appearance against Cleveland.
Angels reliever Jose Marte made the most his major league debut on Friday. He struck out four batters over a pair of scoreless innings.
“Marte went out and showed us what we were told he could do,” Los Angeles manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s fun to watch all these young guys play every day.”
–Field Level Media