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

The Tampa Bay Rays (63-54) and Los Angeles Angels (62-56) will open up an important four-game American League series on Thursday night at Angel Stadium, with the first pitch scheduled for 10:05 ET

Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Angels 

The Tampa Bay Rays are 7-2 since 3B Evan Longoria returned from the disabled list

Tampa Bay was unable to get anything going offensively in a 1-0 road loss on Wednesday afternoon, as it watched Seattle Mariners star Felix Hernandez throw the franchise’s first-ever perfect game.  “For me, we just have to move on,” commented Rays manager Joe Maddon.  The Rays have still managed to win seven of nine games since third baseman Evan Longoria returned from the disabled list.  Tampa Bay is 7-7 on the road with a money line of -100 to -125, but are 1-4 after getting shut out.

Rays starting pitcher David Price (15-4, 2.50 ERA) earned a 4-2 road victory over the Minnesota Twins in his last effort, allowing two runs and seven hits over seven frames.  The left-hander is 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 12 road outings, issuing 22 walks and striking out 73 batters in 76 innings of work.  In seven career games versus the Angels, Price has compiled a 3-2 record and 3.48 ERA, including a 5-0 complete-game home victory on April 24.

Los Angeles won the final two games of their three-game set against the Cleveland Indians, with the offense scoring 17 combined runs in those victories.  The Angels will be hard-pressed to put up that type of number against the Rays, as they’ve scored just eight runs in six games in this year’s season series.  Outfielder Mike Trout may be able to boost the team’s production, hitting an AL-best .340, but has just a single hit in eight at-bats against Tampa Bay’s pitching staff.  Los Angeles is 16-15 as a home underdog of +100 to +125 the last two-plus seasons.

Angels starting pitcher Dan Haren (8-9, 4.68 ERA) is coming off one of his worst efforts of the 2012 campaign, suffering a 7-4 home loss to the Seattle Mariners, giving up seven runs (five earned) and five hits over just 3.1 innings.  The right-hander is 4-6 with a 4.56 ERA in 12 home outings, surrendering 10 home runs in 71 frames.  In 12 career games versus the Rays, Haren has tallied a 7-3 mark and 2.60 ERA.

Sports bettors will likely back the Rays due to their 23-7 mark in Price’s last 30 efforts as a road favorite, while the Angels are 2-6 against winning teams.

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