MLB Picks 2012: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Los Angeles Angels

The Tampa Bay Rays (65-54) and Los Angeles Angels (62-58) will continue a four-game American League series on Saturday night at the Angel Stadium, with the first pitch scheduled for 9:05 ET

Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Angels 

The Los Angeles Angels need a big effort from SP C.J. Wilson

Tampa Bay remains six games back of the New York Yankees in the AL East division, capturing a 12-3 blowout win in Los Angeles on Friday night.  The Rays have really turned the corner since the return of third baseman Evan Longoria, while the pitching staff has also played an important role in going 6-2 in its first eight games of a current 10-game road trip.  Tampa Bay is 9-2 as a road underdog of +125 to +150 this season, but is 19-18 in that situation since 2010.

Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (7-8, 4.08 ERA) has led the club to three consecutive victories, including a 4-1 road win over the Seattle Mariners last time out, giving up a single run and four hits over seven frames.  The right-hander is 4-3 with a 4.02 ERA in seven road outings, surrendering four home runs in 47 combined innings.  In three career efforts against the Angels, Cobb has tallied an even 1-1 record and 4.08 ERA, including a 3-1 setback at this ballpark on July 27.

Los Angeles is now a disappointing 3-5 on its current homestand and 14-20 since the All-Star break, which has dropped the club seven games back of the Texas Rangers in the AL West division.  “From a pitching standpoint, we haven’t held up our end of the bargain,” commented Angels ace Jered Weaver.  The Halos are a money-burning 1-7 against the Rays this season, which could grow worse in facing a club that has compiled a 1.52 ERA over the last 19 games.  Los Angeles is 13-7 at home when the total is 8 to 8.5.

Angels starting pitcher C.J. Wilson (9-9, 3.32 ERA) hasn’t earned a victory since June 26, coming off a 6-2 home loss to the Cleveland Indians, allowing three runs (two earned) and six hits over 6.2 frames.  The left-hander is 3-5 with a 3.08 ERA in 10 home outings, surrendering just four home runs in 64.1 combined innings.  In 19 career games (six starts) versus the Rays, Wilson has registered a solid 4-2 record and 2.35 ERA.

Sports bettors will likely back the Angels due to their 8-2 mark in Wilson’s last 10 starts following a team loss, while the Rays are 16-20 against left-handed starters.

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