By Charles Jay
The Los Angeles Angels may have had some momentum for a while, but that has dissolved. And they have lost the consensus choice for the best player in baseball in the process. They will line up for action on Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves in a game that begins at 10:05 PM ET at Angel Stadium in Orange County.
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This game is a very intriguing matchup, as both of the teams, who are in second place but way out of the division race, are missing their big slugger. The Angels will have to go anywhere from six to eight weeks without Mike Trout, who suffered a thumb injury and is undergoing surgery. Trout is the guy who has the highest WAR number in the majors, and that is something we'll discuss in a moment. Of course, he is the two-time American League MVP and has been the runner-up in every other full season he's spent in the majors, and he is tied for the major league lead in on-base percentage, along with Freddie Freeman, the Atlanta star who has a fractured wrist and is also out of action.
The Angels are at 26-28, which puts them eleven games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West, while the Braves, who are transitioning a little on their roster and in a new ballpark, are 22-27, and they are 8.5 games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East.
In the baseball betting odds that have been posted on this game at BetDNA, home of the best live betting software on the planet, the Angels are -120 favorites, with a total of eight runs (alternative lines are, of course, available).
Some people might wonder why the Halos are laying a price, especially since they are sending someone to the mound who is making his first big league start. Parker Bridwell had a 0.92 ERA at Salt Lake City, and he has been called up to make this start, as Alex Meyer is still on the disabled list. Is he ready? He has been in only two games - last year with Baltimore - and gave up five runs in three innings, surrendering a couple of homers.
Bartolo Colon makes the start for the Braves, and if you recall, he won the Cy Young for the Angels in 2005. When healthy, he's been reliable, and even though he's 44, making him the oldest player in the majors, he was named to the All-Star Game last season.
There are arguments that can be made in the Braves' favor. There is a big experience difference between the pitchers here, obviously. And when you talk about the WAR statistic, it would dictate that Trout's absence means more to the Angels than Freeman's does to the Braves. But you really have to ask whether Colon has lost a lot at this juncture, and he has been battling some shoulder soreness. Maybe the safest way to go is to look at the total, and in that regard we would refer to Colon's bloated 7.44 ERA on the road, not to mention the fact that over his last three starts - two of which have been at home - he has let more than two batters per inning reach base. So it is "OVER" for us.
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