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Angels vs. Indians Pick MLB – August 10th

It’s been a nice week so far, last night we cashed in our third straight winner with the UNDER in the Yankees and Tigers tilt, despite some late heroics from Miguel Cabrera that made things a little interesting.  The night was relatively stress-free until the ninth, when Cabrera turned a 3-1 deficit into a 3-3 tie and reopened the possibility of a wacky game stealing a near-certain cover.  Alas, the Tigers lone deficiency, a shaky bullpen and closer situation, reared it’s troublesome head with a few walks, a wild pitch and a seeing-eye single from Brett Gardner to seal up the 4-3 win and the cover.

The loss snapped the Tigers 12-game winning streak and now leaves the Braves alone in the spotlight with 14 games and counting and the Marlins standing in the way.  As red-hot as the Bravos are playing, I am still a little dismayed by the -235 line against Eovaldi and his 1.42 ERA in his last three starts on the opposing rubber.  I’m not picking that game officially, but will throw out a casual “buyer beware” on the seemingly unstoppable Braves bandwagon.  There just isn’t great value laying nearly two and a half times the reward tonight…

Let’s get on to today official pick and see if we can run the hit streak to four straight.

Los Angeles Angels -101 at Cleveland Indians -109 (Total: 8.5)

C.J. Wilson (11-6, 3.49 ERA) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (8-6, 4.18 ERA)

A once-promising season in Cleveland has turned bleak on the heels of a four-game sweep at the hands of the division leading Tigers.  The Tribe entered the series dreaming of a possible surge into first place.  They concluded 7 ½ games back and all but toe-tagged.  The hangover continued last night with another loss, 5-2 in the opener of the Angels series.

Cleveland will hand the ball to Ubaldo Jimenez tonight.  He has been a tantalizing mix of feast or famine all season, and his last three starts have been more of the former.  He is just 1-2, but has a nice 2.04 ERA despite some control issues (he has walked 9 batters in just 17.2 innings).  He will have a difficult task navigating the potent Angel lineup, but I like him to give a quality start tonight at home.  He was pushed back to get some extra rest (and avoid Detroit, whom he has struggled mightily against), and in his last 13 starts he is 7-4 with a 3.01 ERA.

Opposing Jimenez is C.J. Wilson.  The Angels prize free agent acquisition of a year ago hasn’t been quite as good as advertised.  His last three starts have been especially rough with an ERA of 5.86 and a WHIP of 1.64.  Yet, despite his recent troubles, tonight should be a good night to get back on track.  The Indians have scored just 19 runs in their last 8 games (2.3 rpg), and are no strangers to late-season swoons.

I think Francona can keep this season from imploding (2011 Boston experience excepted), but the notion of contending for a playoff berth has probably passed.  They have a decent shot to snap their skid with Jimenez on the mound tonight, but for my official pick I’m going to stay UNDER the 8.5 run total.

Free Pick:  Run TOTAL UNDER 8.5