MLB Odds for July 26: Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland Indians
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
by Frank Martin
The Cleveland Indians have been balancing building for the future and contending all season. On Monday night, a piece of their future helped them stay in contention. Jason Kipnis made his first major league hit count by driving in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Indians took the series opener with a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
The visiting Angels looked as though they had the win locked up but instead dropped another game behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West. Los Angeles will be looking to keep pace when it sends ace Jered Weaver to the mound on Tuesday night.
Tomlin has not lost since June 12 but has struggled of late, allowing 12 earned runs in 17 innings over his last three starts. The 26-year-old Texas native has gone at least five innings in each of his 32 major league starts - a modern record. Tomlin has faced Los Angeles twice in his career, posting a 1-0 mark while allowing a total of six runs in 12 2/3 innings.
Weaver continues to make his case for the American League Cy Young Award. The 28-year-old has not lost since May 18 and is 4-0 with four runs allowed in 30 2/3 innings this month. He tossed seven scoreless innings against red-hot Texas last Thursday and has yielded two runs or less in each of his last seven turns. One of Weaver’s few losses this season came against Cleveland on May 7, when he was reached for four runs on seven hits in six frames.
Cleveland has relied heavily on young players to help overcome the injuries to Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo and supplement All-Star Asdrubal Cabrera. Now, the Indians are beginning to look even more toward the future with third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall and second baseman Jason Kipnis. Kipnis made his second career start on Monday, batting out of the No. 8 spot, and poked a grounder between first and second with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to plate the winning run. Cleveland, which managed only three hits before the ninth inning on Monday, will take all of the offense it can get as it attempts to hang with the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.
Los Angeles has been one of several teams in the market for bullpen help with the trade deadline approaching. Monday’s result might give the Angels more incentive to go after San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell. Jordan Walden suffered his seventh blown save, allowing the tying run to score on a double and then loading the bases with a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
The Angels are attempting to keep up with the offensive juggernaut that is Texas. They had taken two of three from the Rangers in search of that goal last week. But Monday’s loss coupled with Texas blowing out the Minnesota Twins leaves Los Angeles four games back in the division.
At least Bobby Abreu provided a high point for Los Angeles. Coming into an eighth-inning at-bat on Monday 10-for-66 (.152) in July and without a home run since June 22, the veteran slugger drove a two-run blast into the right field seats to give the Angels a brief lead. Abreu, whose .354 slugging percentage would be the worst of his career, has just three extra-base hits this month.
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