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

The Los Angeles Angels (6-12) and Tampa Bay Rays (11-7) will close out a three-game American League series on Thursday afternoon at Tropicana Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:10 ET

Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays  

The Tampa Bay Rays will try to complete a three-game sweep against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday afternoon

Los Angeles dropped to six games below .500 with last night’s 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay, as the offense has managed to score just four runs over its last 28 innings.  Angels first baseman Albert Pujols continues to struggle at the plate and is searching for his first home run of the 2012 campaign.  He will also be looking to snap a string of 19 straight at-bats without a hit.  The club has lost the last five games in this series, scoring just seven runs in that span.  Los Angeles is 5-13 as a road underdog of +150 to +175 the last two-plus years.

Angels starting pitcher Jerome Williams (1-1, 7.71 ERA) is coming off a 6-3 home win over the Baltimore Orioles, giving up three runs and seven hits over 6.2 innings of work.  The right-hander was knocked around in his lone road start of the year thus far, allowing five runs and five hits over 2.2 frames in a 11-5 prime-time loss to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Williams has made just one career start versus the Rays, registering a 7-3 road win on June 8, 2004.

Tampa Bay has won six of its last seven games and the pitching staff is really starting to roll, surrendering just one home run over its last 60 innings of work.  The Rays have outscored the Angels by a 21-7 margin in their five-game win streak in this series.  The club is now focused on picking up its first home sweep against today’s opponent since May 9-11, 2008.  Third baseman Evan Longoria is the player to watch offensively, owning a career .320 average with six home runs and 18 RBIs in his career against the Angels.  Tampa Bay is 7-1 at home this year and the “under” is 5-3 in those contests.

Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore (0-1, 5.12 ERA) is still looking to lead his team to a victory in making his fourth start, as the offense has supplied him 10 runs of support in the early going.  The left-hander didn’t figure into the decision in a 5-4 home loss to the Minnesota Twins last time out, giving up three runs and eight hits over 6.1 frames.  Moore will be making his first career appearance against the Angels in this matchup.

Bettors will likely back the Angels due to their 37-18 record after losing the first two games of a series, while the Rays are just 1-1 this year after three or more consecutive wins.

Make sure to check out our Major League Baseball picks all season long and get the most up-to-date betting odds at Bookmaker

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