Masterson will try to tame Trout, Angels bats
Even during a brief slump for the Los Angeles Angels, Mike Trout continued to supply offensive firepower. His teammates joined him in an explosive showing Tuesday to help the club avoid another loss.
That could be bad news for Justin Masterson as he tries to find some traction during the most inconsistent season of his career.
The Angels look for a second straight road victory for the first time in more than a month Wednesday night against the Cleveland Indians.
Los Angeles (38-32) had scored just 10 runs in its losses during a 1-4 stretch before breaking out for 15 hits in a 9-3 win Tuesday. Trout has four homers in his last four games after going deep twice for the second time in his career and driving in four runs. He’s batting .410 with eight homers and 26 RBIs over his last 22 games and has 14 RBIs in his last 13 matchups with Cleveland.
"I’m being patient and squaring up some balls," Trout said. "I’m not anxious. I’m just comfortable."
Adding to the onslaught were Kole Calhoun and Howie Kendrick, who each hit a home run and were a combined 7 for 10.
The Angels haven’t won two straight on the road since victories at Philadelphia from May 13-14.
Masterson (4-5, 5.05 ERA), whose ERA is a career worst, was charged with five runs, three hits and four walks in two innings in a 10-3 loss at Boston on Friday. It was tied for the second-shortest outing of his career.
The right-hander seemed to show signs of progress in his three previous starts, posting a 1.72 ERA. Before that, he had allowed 17 earned runs over 15 1-3 innings in a three-start span.
Masterson also struggled the last time he saw the Angels, yielding five earned runs over 7 1-3 innings of a 6-3 loss on April 28. Trout is 4 for 8 against him, while Josh Hamilton is 10 for 17 with two home runs and two doubles.
The Indians (36-36), who had a 10-game home winning streak snapped, are batting .167 with runners in scoring position during a 3-5 stretch.
"We’ve really played very well for about the last month," said Carlos Santana, who is hitting .333 with 14 RBIs in his last 16 contests. "You want to win every time, but this was just one game."
Michael Brantley was a late scratch from Tuesday’s lineup and his status is unclear for Wednesday. He passed a concussion test after he was injured on a slide in Monday’s 4-3 win but experienced discomfort during pregame activities Tuesday and underwent more tests. Brantley is batting .536 during an eight-game hitting streak and .333 on the season with runners in scoring position.
Angels starter C.J. Wilson (7-6, 3.50) is 1-3 in his last four outings with a 4.94 ERA, though he received one total run of support over 16 1-3 innings in the losses.
The left-hander gave up back-to-back homers during a four-run first inning Friday versus Atlanta. Though he didn’t allow any runs in five more innings, Wilson didn’t find much consolation in the 4-3 defeat.
"There’s no reward for losing – ever. This is the major leagues. We’re trying to win, so it’s not like I threw a two-hit complete game or something like that," he told the team’s official website. "I mean, I went six innings. That’s not that good. That’s just kind of average."
Wilson held Cleveland to one run and two hits over eight innings of a 7-1 victory on April 30, improving to 4-2 with a 2.50 ERA in eight career starts against the Indians.
Brantley is 1 for 14 against Wilson, though Michael Bourn is 7 for 20 with four RBIs.