Rangers bats warming up

The Cleveland Indians have the best home record in baseball. Their results on the road of late have been a different story.

The Indians look to secure their first road series win in more than five weeks when they close a four-game set against the Texas Rangers on Sunday night.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Cleveland -126 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 11 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 79% of bets for this game have been placed on Cleveland -126 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

(57-40) is 34-15 at Jacobs Field, but has lost seven of its last 12 road games, including five defeats against teams that currently have losing records.

The Indians opened this series against the Rangers with their first back-to-back road victories in more than a month, guaranteeing at least a split in the series. But they gave up five first-inning runs en route to an 8-5 defeat Saturday.

The loss was the Indians' first in five games against the Rangers (42-55) this year, and it snapped Cleveland's six-game win streak against Texas dating to last season.

After the game, Indians players held a 25-minute closed-door meeting.

"It's just things that happen during a season," manager Eric Wedge told the team's official Web site. "A little housecleaning. It's always a good thing."

"It's just that time of year. We're a tight group, a tight team. Close-knit, I should say. And this is all part of it."

Texas outfielder Marlon Byrd matched a career high by driving in five runs. He hit a two-run double in the first inning, then capped the Rangers' scoring with a three-run triple in the seventh.

Byrd, who failed to make the team out of spring training, is batting .346 since being called up from Triple-A Oklahoma on May 26.

"He came up big," said Rangers manager Ron Washington, whose club hasn't lost a home series since dropping two of three to Detroit from June 5-7. "The triple was huge. It shows you that when a pitcher makes a mistake, he isn't missing."

Sammy Sosa was honored before the game for hitting his 600th career home run last month. Sosa was unable to add to his total Saturday, leaving the game in the third inning after being hit in the head by a pitch.

It was the second time this season that a pitch hit Sosa in the head, but neither one caused significant injury. He's listed as day-to-day, and could return as early as Sunday to face Cleveland starter Paul Byrd (7-4, 4.50 ERA), against whom Sosa is 5-for-13 with three home runs.

Byrd is 1-3 with a 5.58 ERA in his last eight starts after going 6-1 with a 3.57 ERA in his first nine outings. The right-hander gave up four runs in six innings of Cleveland's 6-5, 11-inning win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.

Byrd has struggled against the Rangers, going 2-5 with a 7.02 ERA in seven starts against them, but he hasn't given up more than four earned runs in any of his eight road starts this year.

Robinson Tejeda (5-8, 6.68) will try for his first win in more than six weeks. In six starts since beating Milwaukee on June 8, the right-hander is 0-2 with a 7.18 ERA. He gave up three runs in 4 1-3 innings against Oakland on Tuesday in Texas' 11-4 win.

Tejeda has never faced the Indians.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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