The Tampa Bay Rays come into Anaheim to face the Angels, another middle-of-the-pack AL West team just after splitting a four game series with the Oakland Athletics. Picked by most to be the prohibitive favorite to win the division prior to the season, the Angels find themselves instead hovering around the .500 mark, ahead of Oakland in second place by fractional percentage points and eight games behind the Texas Rangers.
The Rays (76-48) dropped the first two games in a tightly contested four game series in Oakland before winning Saturday night's game 5-4 with an eighth inning rally (capped by Sean Rodriguez's two run homer) and then holding off the A's late charge on Sunday to escape with a 3-2 victory. They've won seven of their last ten games and are one game out of first in the AL East division behind the New York Yankees and hold a five-and-a-half game lead over the Boston Red Sox for the AL Wildcard.
The Angels (62-63) are returning home after a six game road trip that saw them lose two of three to both Boston and the Minnesota Twins, including being shut out by the Twins 4-0 Sunday night. The Angels have lost six of their last ten games and haven't won a series since completing a sweep of the Kansas City Royals on August 11th. They're led offensively by outfielder Torii Hunter (.295, 18 HR, 70 RBI) and first baseman Mike Napoli (.249, 20 HR and 54 RBI). On the mound, Ervin Santana leads the team in wins with 13 while Jered Weaver has posted a 3.21 ERA and 189 K's.
The Angels will send former Ray Scott Kazmir (8-10, 6.40) to the mound to begin the series. Kazmir has struggled all season and just returned from a lengthy stint on the disabled list and a minor league rehab assignment on August 7th. The Rays will counter with James Shields (11-11, 4.82) who is coming off one of his better recent performances, pitching seven solid innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits while striking out six and only walking one to get the win in the final game of the Rays series sweep against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field on August 18th.
3 game series vs Angels @ Angel Stadium of Anaheim
|Tue 08/24||10:05 PM EDT|
3:35 PM EDT