Pitching Mismatch: Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays MLB Preview

The Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Rays have split the first two games of their three-game series heading into the finale Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field

Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays

The Los Angeles Angels will likely ride SP Jered Weaver into the winner's circle Sunday afternoon

Los Angeles certainly had its chances to win Saturday’s contest against Tampa Bay, but closer Fernando Rodney’s wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th sealed the team’s fate in a 2-1 loss.  “It was going to come down to some close plays,” said manager Mike Scioscia.  “There are some things we didn’t do that we could’ve taken possession of and had a little better chance at some points in the game.”  The Angels have won six of their last eight road games and lead the American League with nine road wins.  The squad is 6-7 at home and 9-5 on the road.  Los Angeles is 6-4 in day games this season and 70-39 the past three years.

Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver recently became the fifth pitcher since 1900 to end April with at least six victories, coming in with a dominating 6-0 mark and 0.99 ERA.  “There’s not much different that he’s doing now that he didn’t do last year,” Scioscia commented.  “Outside the wins and losses, his internal numbers matched up with any Cy Young candidate.”  The right-hander is a perfect 4-0 with a 1.24 ERA in four road outings this year, allowing opponents to hit for a dismal .149 average.  He will be making his seventh career start versus Tampa Bay, producing a 4-1 record and 2.27 ERA.

Tampa Bay broke a string of four consecutive losses to Los Angeles and are an even 14-14 in the series since 2008.  The Rays are 14-4 over their last 18 games, as the pitching staff has carried the team with a 2.86 ERA over that span.  Fans should be proud of their team’s accomplishment in becoming the first team to start 0-6 and end April with a winning record.  The pitching staff’s starting unit has thrown seven or more innings in 13 of those games.  Offensively, the squad may find things difficult in matching up with Weaver, as it is hitting a combined .191 against him.  Tampa Bay is 5-6 in day games this season.

Rays rookie starting pitcher Alex Cobb will be making his career debut this afternoon, coming in with a 3-0 record and 2.05 ERA for Triple-A Durham this season.  The former fourth-round draftee has compiled a 32-23 mark and 3.10 ERA during his minor league career, relying on racking up nearly three times as many strikeouts (431) as walks (141).

Bettors will likely back the Angels due to their 10-1 record in Weaver’s last 11 starts, while the Rays are 3-7 in their last 10 Sunday games.

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