MLB Picks: Indians at Angels Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 8/21/2013
Major League Baseball's addition of a second wild-card spot in each league has definitely kept more teams in the playoff hunt deeper into the season -- the Washington Nationals, for example, just traded for Cubs outfielder David DeJesus despite the fact they are nine games out of a wild-card spot. Unfortunately, the addition of that second wild-card spot has also taken much of the suspense out of the trade deadline because teams are now hanging onto players because they think they can earn that second spot.
I mention this because it's now harder to find a team that has officially quit on the season and bet against it. I am not talking about those teams who have young players still trying hard. The Mariners, Astros or Cubs, for example. I am speaking of veteran teams who had playoff expectations and have fallen flat on their faces. No club fits that profile more than the Los Angeles Angels, whose disappointment just looks worse with the surge of the Dodgers.
The Angels entered Tuesday's game with the Tribe having lost 11 of 15 and are 10-20 since the break. They have quit, losing home series to bad teams like Houston and Minnesota.
There will be offseason change with the Angels, whether it's the firing of GM Jerry Dipoto and/or Manager Mike Scioscia or plenty of trades. The team officially said Albert Pujols wouldn't return the rest of the year earlier this week, and his contract might go down as a bigger mistake than Alex Rodriguez's. Mike Trout is dealing with a hamstring injury. The Halos just put pitcher Jason Vargas and shortstop Erick Aybar on waivers. Vargas is a free agent after this season and would be a nice fifth-starter addition for some contender (Rangers?). Aybar is owed $8.5 million per season through 2016. He's a solid player if a bit overpaid. The Angels won't just give him away, so if a team claims him the Halos will either work out a deal or pull him back. They might just let Vargas go to save a few bucks or in return for a low-level prospect.
Indians at Angels Betting Story Lines
Cleveland entered Tuesday's game 6.5 behind Detroit in the AL Central, but it would take an injury to Miguel Cabrera for the Tigers to cough that up. The Tribe are 4.5 games out of the second wild-card spot. Wednesday's series finale in Anaheim concludes a nine-game road trip, and a 5-4 record would be solid. Then maybe they can beat up on the Twins in Cleveland this weekend to narrow that gap.
The Indians will start their all-star ace on Wednesday, right-hander Justin Masterson (13-9, 3.59). He has been just so-so this month with a 1-2 record and 4.56 ERA. That would be his highest ERA of any month in 2013. Masterson faced the Angels on Aug. 11, and he allowed five runs and seven hits in 4.1 innings in a no-decision. Josh Hamilton loves Masterson, batting .600 with two homers and five RBI in 15 at-bats. Trout is 2-for-4 with two RBI. Aybar is 2-for-15 with five strikeouts. Masterson likely won't have to deal with Halos second baseman Howie Kendrick, another guy who could be traded this offseason. He's eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday, but with L.A. off on Thursday it likely will wait until Friday. Mark Trumbo is the hottest Angel, batting .360 with four homers and 10 RBI the past seven days entering Tuesday.
The Angels start right-hander Jerome Williams (5-9, 4.90). The Angels have lost the past seven times he has taken the mound. He hasn't lasted more than 5.2 innings in any of his past three starts. One of those was also Aug. 11 in Cleveland. The Tribe tagged him for four runs in 5.2 innings. Nick Swisher and Mike Aviles homered off Williams. The streaky Swisher is hitting .296 with two homers in the past seven days.
Indians at Angels MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Indians are -126 and the Angels +116 with the total at 8.5. All trends entering Tuesday: Cleveland is 57-63-5 “over/under” (26-32-4 on road) and 63-63 on the runline. Los Angeles is 69-52-3 over/under (37-28-1 at home) and 56-68 on the runline.
The Indians are 10-2 in their past 12 Game 3s. They are 8-1 in Masterson's past nine Game 3 starts. They are also 8-1 in his past nine against teams with a winning record. Cleveland is 2-6 in Masterson' past eight road starts. The Angels are 3-14 in their past 17 at home against teams with a winning record. L.A. is 0-4 in its past four Game 3s. The Angels are 3-13 in Williams' past 16 road starts against a team with a winning record. They are 1-6 in his past seven home starts. The over is 6-0 in Cleveland's past six Wednesday games. The under is 5-0 in Masterson's past five road starts. The over is 5-0 in the Angels' past five Game 3s. The over is 9-4 in Williams' past 13 home starts. Cleveland is 5-1 in Masterson's past six starts vs. L.A.
MLB Picks: Indians at Angels Betting Predictions
I am highly conflicted here. While I believe what I said about L.A. having quit, I also think this is a huge trap game in some ways for Cleveland because it's the last of a long trip. If the Angels were starting anyone other than Williams, I'd probably take them as home dogs. I would take L.A. on the runline but Cleveland to win and the over.
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