Oof… Just oof. The Rays return home on the heels of another big loss to the Royals. This time Tampa Bay got slammed 11-1, after Jeremy Hellickson put together a 2-2/3 inning, five run, outing. Cesar Ramos wasn’t much better in relief, relinquishing five runs in one inning. If someone can explain how a team, that was 20 games over .500, loses to a team that’s coming off a five game losing streak (a game removed, that is), I’m all ears. Moving forward, enter the Angels.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim haven’t fared to well in 2013. Marred by injuries, the 58-71 Angels are 6-9 in their last 15, having been outscored 73-62 in that span. It doesn’t help that Josh Hamilton is hitting .235 and the team has a 4.40 ERA — though they’ve posted a 1.27 ERA in the last five games. The Rays are mildly better in the same span of time, having gone 8-7. However when you stretch things back 18 games, the Rays were in the throes of their worst losing streak of the season. That they bounced back from that and haven’t lost their relevance is a positive.
Tampa Bay has averaged 5.2 runs in taking 12-of-13 in the series against the Angels, including the last six by a 42-14 margin. However, the Rays have some offensive holes that need to be filled — namely Wil Myers and Desmond Jennings. Myers is 5-for-his-last-37 (all singles) with only two RBI, while Jennings is 5-for-his-last-54 with five runs. On the other hand, David DeJesus is 5-for-12 with two runs since joining the Rays, and Evan Longoria has heated up once more — cough, even though he went 0-4 Monday, striking out in a pivotal wRISP situation.
CJ Wilson: Per Rotowire, “Wilson gave up one run on four hits through 7.1 innings Tuesday, picking up a no-decision against the Indians.” A tough lefty by all accounts, Wilson has not fared well against the Rays in his recent outings, going 0-3 with a 6.56 ERA in his last four starts against Tampa Bay — including a loss in the 2011 ALDS while with Texas. Ben Zobrist had a good amount of success against Wilson last season, hitting two homers and a double in eight at-bats in their match-ups. Key match-ups: Yunel Escobar (2-6, 2 BB), Sam Fuld (1-2, RBI), James Loney (1-4), Sean Rodriguez (5-15, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB), Ben Zobrist (6-23, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB).
Jerome Williams: Per Rotowire, “Williams will have his next turn in the rotation skipped, the Orange County Register reports.” Williams has appeared in five games against the Rays in the last three years, accumulating 14-1/3 innings of work. The journeyman pitcher has reinvented himself, becoming a ground ball specialist of sorts. He won’t blow you away with incredible velocity, however Williams can hurt you if he keeps the ball down. He is apt to leave the ball in hittable locations, so hopefully the Rays can force a mistake. Key match-ups: Kelly Johnson (8-19, RBI, 2 BB), Matt Joyce (2-5, 2B, HR, RBI, BB).
Garrett Richards: Fangraphs notes, “Richards has not been able to actually, you know, strike guys out. This despite a good swinging strike rate (10%). Maybe it’s the fact that he’s primarily a fastball/slider guy — lefties had a .389 wOBA against Richards last season.”
- Last year, the Angels lost nine of 10 games against the Rays, including all three at Tropicana Field.
- Just make contact — the Angels have 89 errors, third most in the AL.
- Longoria is hitting .307 with eight homers, 22 RBI and 22 runs in 29 career games against the Rays. Ben Zobrist is batting .345 with four homers and nine RBIs over the last eight in the series.
- Hernandez has gone 0-4 despite a 2.44 ERA in eight starts versus Los Angeles while with Cleveland. Josh Hamilton is 1 for his last 12 against Hernandez, though that hit left the yard.
- Matt Moore remains on track for a Minor League rehab start on Thursday, but the site is still to be determined. Moore would be on track to join the rotation Sept. 3 in Anaheim if there are no setbacks. The left-hander, who is 14-3 with a 3.41 ERA this season, has not pitched in a game since July 28 against the Yankees in New York.