Here’s the thing about playing near two-to-one underdogs in baseball: You won’t stay in business very long if you do it daily, but if you do your research and pick your spots, it’s a fast way to build your bankroll. Hence this play on Cleveland, which is coming off Sunday’s 14-1 loss to Boston and is just three for its last 15; and whose starting pitcher (Justin Masterson) has a 6.68 ERA on the road this year (including giving up 15 earned runs in his last two road starts). So why am I playing on the Indians? I’m not, so much as I’m playing against the Angels, who have no business laying this kind of number right now.
After closing out a 10-game road trip by losing six of the last eight games, Los Angeles came home this weekend and dropped two of three to Seattle (and the Halos had to rally from a 5-0 deficit Friday to avoid getting swept). In the last two games, with Dan Haren and Jeff Weaver on the hill, the Angels went off as a minus-230 and minus-260 favorite and lost by the combined tally of 11-5 to fall eight games back of Texas in the AL West. Not only are sluggers Albert Pujols (1-for-23) and Mark Trumbo (4-for-21) a combined 5-for-44 over the last seven days, but aside from Weaver, the Angels’ pitching (starters and relievers) have been unreliable of late. That includes tonight’s starter C.J. Wilson, who has allowed 27 runs (23 earned) in his last five starts covering 29 2/3 innings (6.98 ERA). Most importantly, Wilson’s led his team to just one win in his last seven starts.
As for Masterson, he’s coming off a 6-2 victory over the Twins (two runs, three hits, four walks, seven strikeouts in seven innings), and he’s been spectacular in six career starts against the Angels, allowing just eight runs (seven earned) in 40 2/3 innings 1.77 ERA. Cleveland is 4-2 in those six contests, including a 3-2 win back in April (part of the Indians’ 4-2 record against the Halos this season).
Rating:★ ★ ☆ ☆
Friday’s Result: Padres (+130) at Pirates (Win)