The Tampa Bay Rays opened an eight-game home-stand on Tuesday with an ugly 8-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Rays have dropped their last six home games, all to AL West teams (Oakland, Seattle, Anaheim), after playing incredibly well against teams from that division away from the Trop. The Rays start the day 2-1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East.
Los Angeles scored in four of their first six at-bats against Nathan Karns, who didn’t have his best stuff — especially early on. Karns allowed two early runs with two outs, when he couldn’t get the final strike to end the first inning. Kole Calhoun hit an RBI double that scored Erick Aybar from second, scoring the first run.
The Rays went without Evan Longoria in the lineup for a third consecutive game and it showed defensively in the first inning.
David Freese hit a liner to short that forced Asdrubal Cabrera to make a leaping play and throw to Nick Franklin, who was making his third career start at first base in place of James Loney. Franklin allowed Cabrera’s throw to glance off his glove, keeping the rally alive.
I just stretched out as far as I could, Franklin said after the game. Literally right off the tip of the glove.
Karns allowed a free pass to former Ray Matt Joyce on four pitches, and Carlos Perez followed by hitting a bullet to Jake Elmore at third. Elmore dropped the ball, allowing another run to score.
Karns buckled down and put away six consecutive batters before Albert Pujols started another rally in the third with a leadoff double. Freese followed two batters later with an RBI bloop double, scoring Pujols. Freeze was able to move to third on a throwing error by Franklin. Yet Karns limited the damage by striking out Joyce and forcing a fly-ball out from Perez.
Albert Pujols single handily extended the Angels’ lead in the fifth on an opposite field homer — his 536th of career home run, tying him with Mickey Mantle for 16th on the all-time list.
Karns conceded that he didn’t have his best stuff:
The starter got the axe with a pair of runners on the base paths and two outs in the sixth inning, after throwing 106 pitches. Tasked with getting just one more out Enny Romero — who entered the game in relief of Karns — allowed a single to Kole Calhoun to give Anaheim a 5-0 advantage.
The Angels put the game away against Romero, collecting five consecutive hits, and plating three more runs to cap the scoring. The Rays optioned Romero back to Durham after the game, corresponding by recalling RHP Preston Guilmet from the Durham Bulls.
Tampa Bay were able to get on the board in the sixth inning against Matt Shoemaker, who started the game by putting away the first 11 batters. Rene Rivera doubled to left with one out, then moved to third on Kevin Kiermaier’s base-hit to left. Both runners scored on a gapper to left-center by Joey Butler. Yet the Rays were unable to collect another hit that inning.
Despite putting two runners on base in the seventh, Fernando Salas entered the game in relief of Shoemaker and fanned Franklin and pinch-hitter Evan Longoria to end the threat.
After the game, Rays manager Kevin Cash told the media that he was satisfied with Karns battling into the sixth inning:
The New What Next
Erasmo Ramirez (4-2, 5.10 ERA) will take the hill opposite of Jered Weaver (4-5, 4.60 ERA) tonight. Ramirez has won four of his last five outings, owner of a .179 BA/.259 OBP/.269 SLG/.528 OPS slash line in that span. In his five previous appearances against Anaheim, the smiley guy is 1-2 with a 2.28 ERA. The 32 year-old Weaver struggled mightily in his most recent start, surrendering seven earned runs on nine hits — including three home runs — in 5-2/3 innings against the Yankees last Friday. You can read about the pitching matchup in our series preview.
Rays 6/10/15 Starting Lineup
— As we reported yesterday, RHP Jake Odorizzi was diagnosed with a mild-to-moderate left oblique strain on Tuesday. And though the prognosis is less than operable, it is actually better than it could have been.
Probably the best possible news I could have gotten, Odorizzi was quoted as saying.
Odorizzi iss expected to rest and ice his side for the next few days before playing catch later this week. While the timetable for his return is uncertain, this injury is less severe than the one that sidelined Alex Cobb for 5-½ weeks last season.
Cash set part of the upcoming rotation, with RHP Alex Colome starting Thursday, and RHP Chris Archer pitching Saturday on an extra day’s rest. Friday’s starter is to be determined, depending on how the Rays use their bullpen in the coming days.
— Matt Moore is getting closer! Moore said he felt good after his second rehab start with the Class-A Stone Crabs. Two-thirds of his scheduled 65 pitches (42) came in the first two innings last night, but he settled down and retired the last six batters. He allowed just three hits and a walk while fanning four in four innings of work (64 pitches).
I really do feel better about the whole thing because we did get through that many innings, Moore said. That many up and downs, that’s new to me right now, so to not be in any kind of discomfort or still be able to feel the same first through four, I’m very happy with that.
Moore, who is scheduled to start again next Monday for Charlotte on regular rest, said his velocity was from 90-93 mph. When asked by Marc Topkin “if there was more to come?” the lefty responded, “I hope so.”
— Topkin also wrote that OF Desmond Jennings had surgery on his left knee in Colorado. The issue that caused him so much pain was a thickening of tissue around his knee. It’s unclear when he will return.