Game #117: Cleveland Indians (54-62) at Los Angeles Angels (60-56)
By Mike Brandyberry
Last night Justin Masterson shutout the Angels for six innings, the bullpen held the lead and the offense tacked on insurance runs late to give the Tribe a 6-2 victory to start their nine-game, three-city road trip. It was Masterson’s second consecutive quality start after an up and down summer. Brent Lillibridge helped the offense by scoring two runs and hitting a solo home run.
The Indians may be the Angels’ kryptonite this season as they have taken five of seven games from highly touted Halos. Los Angeles won the offseason race, signing C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols via free agency but have stumbled this season to build a winning streak and assert themselves as the playoff team they paid to be. After last night’s loss, the Angels find themselves eight games behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West and two and a half games behind the final wild card spot.
Tonight, the Indians will send Ubaldo Jimenez (9-11, 5.25 ERA) to the mound in hopes he finds his second consecutive start just like Masterson. Jimenez pitched six innings, allowing three runs while striking out 10 last Thursday against the Boston Red Sox. He had struggled for most of July, but Indians Manager Manny Acta felt his last start may have been one of his best of the season. He is 0-2, with a 4.30 ERA in two career starts against the Angels. His key to success will be throwing strikes like he did in his last start where he only had one walk.
Los Angeles counters with Zack Greinke (0-1, 5.68 ERA) who was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers to help give the Angels a boost in their playoff push. He allowed two runs over seven innings in his Los Angeles debut on July 29, but has allowed ten runs in his last two starts. Last Wednesday Greinke allowed four runs and five walks in five innings of work against the Oakland Athletics. He received a no-decision, but the Angels lost 9-8.
Jason Kipnis returns to the lineup tonight. Kipnis was cleared and available to play last night, but Acta elected to rest him one more day with the southpaw Wilson on the mound last night. Kipnis did pinch hit with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning.
Also, the Indians placed Josh Tomlin on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Tomlin has been unable to find his velocity or location most of the season, compiling a 5-8 record with a 6.36 ERA in 21 games. Roberto Hernandez was reinstated and placed on the active roster. He is expected to make the start Wednesday evening, his first of the season. Hernandez has missed most of 2012 due to identity and visa issues preventing him from returning to the United States.
The second game of the nine game swing starts at 10:05 pm in Cleveland. It will be another late night for fans of the Feisty Featherheads if they wish to see the final out. Game action can be seen on SportsTime Ohio or heard on the Indians Radio Network.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Jason Kipnis, DH
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Michael Brantley, CF
6. Casey Kotchman, 1B
7. Jason Donald, 2B
8. Jack Hannahan, 3B
9. Ezequiel Carrera, LF
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Starting Lineup
1. Mike Trout, CF
2. Torii Hunter, RF
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Kendrys Morales, DH
5. Mark Trumbo, LF
6. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
7. Howie Kendrick, 2B
8. Erick Aybar, SS
9. Chris Iannetta, C
Photo: AP Photo/Tony Dejak