For their part, the the Angels Angels moved to a season-high three games over .500 with Albert Pujols serving as the team’s primary DH. Pujols, who homered in three of his last four games, strained his groin during a ballgame Friday game and may not return to his normal position in this series.
The Rays are 16-8 at Angel Stadium since the start of the 2010 season, although they posted a lackluster 2-5 record last season with former skipper Joe Maddon at the helm. Nevertheless, Tampa Bay has outscored Anaheim 177-154 — a run differential of 23 — since 2010. It should be noted, thanks to a connection with the Angels organization, the Rays under Maddon used to be treated like royalty in Anaheim. Without that connection…egad, it might feel like an average, everyday ballgame.
*Typing those words just feels right.
Garrett Richards: Richards yielded five runs (three earned) over 6-2/3 innings in a 5-4 loss to San Diego. The 27 year-old has allowed more than three earned runs just once in eight starts. Richards, who is 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA in four home starts, owns a 1-1 mark and 5.40 ERA in two career outings against Tampa Bay. Key to Richards’ overall success is his ability to miss barrels. That ability is predicated on two things: he throws really hard, and being able to command the strike-zone. Consider this, the batter’s ability to pull Richards’ pitches dropped from 50% in 2011 to 37% last season (47% in 2013). Key matchup: David DeJesus (2-5, 2B, RBI, 2 BB).
CJ Wilson: Per Rotowire, Wilson gave up one run and two hits in six innings Thursday against the Tigers. He struck out seven and walked five. Wilson once dominated Tampa Bay, yet over the southpaw has fallen off over last three seasons, posting a 1-3 record with a 5.35 ERA in six starts. In all fairness to the Straight Edge Racer, no one in the lineup has owned Wilson, nor do the Rays have a favorable slash line against (.194 BA/.288 OBP/.271 SLG/.559 OPS). Key matchups: Jake Elmore (1-2, BB), Brandon Guyer (3-10, 2 RBI, BB), Kevin Kiermaier (1-3).
Hector Santiago: Per Rotowire, Santiago (4-3) delivered 7.1 shutout innings in Friday’s win over the Tigers, striking out seven while allowing just three hits and three walks. Santiago boasts a unique eight pitch arsenal — a rarity in today’s game: a four seam fastball, two seam fastball, cutter, sinker, curve ball, slider, split finger and screwball. According to Fangraphs pitch value system, his most effective pitch has been his four-seam fastball, which averaged about 92 mph last season (maxing out at 97.4). Santiago’s other pitches were ranked slightly below average, with his slider and changeup being fairly ineffective. It should be noted, the 27 year-old lefty has a unique screwball that’s garnered a lot of attention:
Santiago’s screwball getting lots of attention. Hester: “Nnever seen anything like it. It’s a super slow changeup that goes the wrong way.”
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) February 17, 2014
Key matchups: David DeJesus (1-1), Evan Longoria (3-3, 2B).
— Tampa Bay placed INF Tim Beckham on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain. The Rays corresponded by recalling Andrew Bellatti to take the open roster spot. Bellatti made 2 scoreless appearances in his first stint with the team, May 9-16. As for Beckham, he becomes the 15th different Rays to go on DL this season — the 17th move to DL overall.
— Alex Colome (3-1, 4.55 ERA) recovered from a 38-pitch first inning last Tuesday and received a no-decision after holding Seattle to two runs over 5-1/3 innings. The righty has allowed two earned runs or fewer in nine of his 12 career starts. Colome also owns a 22-to-5 K/BB ratio over 29-2/3 innings this season.
— Rays manager Kevin Cash said LHP Matt Moore’s bullpen session (on Sunday) went fine. Moore is scheduled to make his official rehab start on Wednesday for the Class-A Stone Crabs, starting his 30-day clock to return.
— Per Marc Topkin, OF Desmond Jennings (left knee) took some swings in an extended spring game on Monday but manager Kevin Cash said it only went “okay,” that he “still felt something.” Cash said there alsso was progress with DH/OF John Jaso (bruised left wrist), who started swinging a bat.