American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, August 18th
(All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (65-54) at LA Angels of Anaheim (62-58), 9:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Alex Cobb (7-8, 4.08)
LA Angels - C.J. Wilson (9-9, 3.32)
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Angels will try to stop their fall with
offensive production when they face Alex Cobb and the Tampa Bay Rays in the
third part of a four-game series.
The Rays won the opener of the set, 7-0, on Thursday and followed that with a
12-3 victory over Jered Weaver on Friday. Weaver (15-3) came into the game
leading the AL in ERA, but the bats of Desmond Jennings, B.J. Upton, Sean
Rodriguez, and Jose Molina propelled Tampa to its second win in a row.
Upton led the way by going 4-for-5 with a home run, double, and three runs
driven in. Ben Zobrist and Molina also homered to keep the Rays in first place
in the AL wild card race.
"B.J.'s playing at this higher level," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I think
the last time I saw something similar to this it was in the playoffs in 2008.
It's fun to watch because I can really see that his focus is great. His
confidence is soaring. You're starting to see the abilities matching the
expectations. He's in a good place right now. ... B.J.'s home run really was a
big moment for us. But then [Weaver] settled in and I thought it was going to
Tampa hopes Cobb can replicate Jamie Shields' (11-3) success in Friday's game.
Cobb has been on a roll lately and won for the third straight time as he
struck out seven batters and allowed just one run on five hits over seven
innings against Toronto on Monday.
"I think Cobb was really the key," Maddon said. "Cobber was very good. And, as
is typical for him, he's got better as the game was in progress. I thought his
last two innings were his best again. He gets into a rhythm and all of a
sudden starts making pitches. The curveball was outstanding again. And then
the changeup, the depth at the end of the game before we took him out."
The right-hander has gone seven innings and given up just one run in each of
the games along the personal winning streak. Cobb's ERA over his last seven
starts is now 2.97.
Los Angeles is 2 1/2 games out of the wild card and seven games behind Texas
in the AL West.
"The way we play is going to dictate where we end up, and right now, we're not
playing at the high level we need to be playing," Angels manager Mike Scioscia
said. "When you're down early, you're handing it to the other team to set up
their bullpen and making it tough on yourself. That's where we've been for the
last month far too often."
The Angels will turn the ball over to C.J. Wilson, hoping he can help them
stay in the playoff hunt. Wilson will try to end his streak of nine starts
without a winning decision tonight. Wilson is 0-5 with a 5.04 ERA since
defeating the Orioles on June 26. The 31-year old southpaw could see his
record drop below .500 after entering July at 9-4.
Wilson is 0-2 with a 3.29 ERA against Tampa Bay this season.
Torii Hunter continued to play well and went 3-for-4 on Friday. He is now
batting .344 in August. Albert Pujols has been unable to get it going so far
in the series, going 1-for-8 with two strikeouts.
The Angels have lost 10 of their last 11 games versus Tampa Bay.
08/18 10:34:54 ET