Game #19—Los Angeles Angels (6-14) at Cleveland Indians (10-8)
By Mike Brandyberry
Last night the Indians came from behind to win the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. Asdrubal Cabrera’s line drive base hit scored Aaron Cunningham to give the Tribe their first victory of the season in their final at bat, 3-2. Justin Masterson worked into the ninth inning before giving way to Vinnie Pestano for the final two outs and the win.
Today, the Indians will look to build a little home momentum when Jeanmar Gomez (1-0, 1.93 ERA) takes the mound against the Angels’ Dan Haren (0-1, 4.07 ERA). Gomez worked five and one-third innings against Oakland last Saturday to earn his victory of the season. He returns today to pitch after serving a five game suspension for hitting Mike Moustakas intentionally on April 14.
“He’s clearly matured and grown,” manager Manny Acta said. “His slider has developed and now he really has an out pitch, but he impressed us with his maturity in spring training.”
Acta also said that Shin-Soo Choo is unavailable for today’s game. He will run with head trainer Lonnie Soloff prior to Sunday’s game. The poor weather made it impossible for Choo to test the sore hamstring today. Acta said Choo is unavailable today, even in a pinch hitting role.
The key for the Tribe this afternoon will most likely be the same key to the team’s success last evening. The team will need to continue to be patient, draw walks and have at bats that go deep in the count. Last evening the Indian offense was able to draw four walks off starter Jered Weaver. While they never scored, they had runners on base in five of the six innings. The Tribe worked Weaver into a high pitch count and after 115 pitches in six innings, he was done for the evening.
Gomez will try to keep newly acquired Angel first baseman, Albert Pujols in check. Pujols is still without a home run this season and has entered the longest drought of his career without a home run.
“Last night he still smoted two balls,” Acta said. “I know one thing for sure, he’s gonna be ok. Hopefully, after Sunday.”
The Tribe will try force Haren from the game early and get to a very shaky and inconsistent Angel bullpen. After a blown save Thursday evening, manager Mike Scioscia announced that Jordan Walden would be replaced as the closer by Scott Downs. With Downs in the closer’s role, only Hisanori Takahashi remains as a left-handed bullpen option prior to a late game situation. A bullpen full of struggling, right-handed pitchers creates a good matchup for the Indians’ lefty heavy lineup.
The Angels made one roster move after last night’s game, releasing outfielder Bobby Abreu and recalling Mike Trout from Triple-A. Trout will lead off and play left field in today’s game. Abreu was rumored to be traded to the Tribe late in spring training, but the deal fell through before being finalized.
While it is still early, the Tribe wakes up this morning in sole possession of first place in the American League Central Division. With the Angels underachieving and already trailing the Texas Rangers by nine games, the Tribe will look to stay ahead of the pack, while keeping the Angels from turning around their season.
Weather may play a part in today’s contest. Rain is expected to strike about the time of the 1:05 first pitch at Progressive Field. An afternoon rain delay could occur. The game can be found on television on Fox or on the Indians Radio Network.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Michael Brantley, CF
2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
4. Travis Hafner, DH
5. Carlos Santana, C
6. Jack Hannahan, 3B
7. Shelley Duncan, LF
8. Casey Kotchman, 1B
9. Aaron Cunningham, RF
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Starting Lineup
1. Mike Trout, LF
2. Howie Kendrick, 2B
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Kendrys Morales, DH
5. Torii Hunter, RF
6. Mark Trumbo, 3B
7. Erick Aybar, SS
8. Bobby Wilson, C
9. Peter Bourjos, CF
Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images