The Cleveland Indians may have to attempt to extend baseball's longest home win streak this season without their RBI leader.
Michael Brantley's status is in doubt as the Indians try to make it 11 straight at home Tuesday night when they meet the Los Angeles Angels.Brantley left in the fifth inning of Monday's 4-3 win in the opener of this four-game set for precautionary reasons after receiving a blow to the head and neck area while trying to break up a double play in the third."He banged the side of his head on that slide," manager Terry Francona said. "He passed all the concussion tests, which is good. His neck is a little stiff. We'll see how he is when he comes in (Tuesday)."The left fielder is 15 for 28 during a nine-game hitting streak, and his 11 homers and 46 RBIs lead the team.If Brantley is out, it would help if Carlos Santana continues his recent surge since returning from a concussion. Santana, hitting .191 on the season, homered Monday and is batting .333 with three homers and nine RBIs in 11 games following a stint on the seven-day disabled list."The good thing is, it's not just singles, he's going to hit home runs and get extra-base hits," Francona said. "We survived to a point with him really being cold and as he's getting hot it's going to help our offense."The Indians (36-35) are batting .304 during their longest home win streak since an 11-game run July 11-Aug. 1. They are a major league-best 22-11 at home.One positive for Francona on Tuesday is that most of his bullpen will be available after he was forced to use starter Trevor Bauer for 119 pitches before Carlos Carrasco recorded the final seven outs. Cleveland's other relievers combined to pitch 15 1/3 innings over the previous three days.Josh Tomlin (4-3, 3.33 ERA) will start for the Indians after allowing four runs over 5 2/3 innings Thursday in a 5-2 defeat at Boston.The right-hander gave up a season-worst nine hits that day but is limiting batters to a .190 average at home, where he is 16-9 with a 3.71 ERA as a starter in his career.Tomlin hasn't faced Los Angeles (37-32) since 2011, so this is his first look at Mike Trout, who is a .219 hitter at Progressive Field for his second-worst average in any ballpark. Trout has hit safely in 11 straight and 22 of 23.Erick Aybar has the most experience among Angels hitters versus Tomlin, going hitless in nine at-bats. Aybar didn't start Monday due to a sore hip, but singled as a pinch hitter and said he expects to be back in the lineup Tuesday.Angels rookie Matt Shoemaker (3-1, 4.19) will make his seventh career start and sixth of 2014. He's 3-0 with a 3.76 ERA as a starter this year.Shoemaker has pitched between five and six innings in every outing heading into his first against the Indians.An option in the bullpen behind Shoemaker is fellow right-hander Joe Smith, who could make his first appearance at Progressive Field as a visitor after spending the previous five years with the Indians.Cleveland's regular catcher, Yan Gomes, is in a 2-for-21 slump with nine strikeouts but figures to return to the lineup after backup George Kottaras went 1 for 3 on Monday in his fourth start.