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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, April 26th (All times Eastern)

LA Angels of Anaheim (6-12) at Tampa Bay Rays (11-7), 1:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: LA Angels - Jerome Williams (1-1, 7.71) Tampa Bay - Matt Moore (0-1, 5.12)

(Sports Network) - It's starting to get late early for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Today, the Angels try to salvage the finale of their three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

After the offseason signings of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, many picked the Angels to not only make the playoffs, but unseat the Texas Rangers as American League West champions.

Things have not gone as planned, however, as Pujols has yet to hit a home run, is hitless in a career-high 19 at-bats and is batting only .222, while the Angels have stumbled to a 6-11 mark and are eight games back in the loss column of the division-leading Rangers.

It didn't get any better for the Angels on Wednesday, as Jeremy Hellickson tossed six innings of one-run ball to help Tampa Bay to a 3-2 win.

Hellickson (3-0) yielded five hits and two walks while striking out five. Wade Davis and Joel Peralta gave up just one hit apiece in the seventh and eighth, respectively, and Fernando Rodney gave up an unearned run in the ninth, but survived to record his sixth save of the season.

Ben Zobrist cracked a solo home run, Jeff Keppinger had an RBI-double and Brandon Allen added an RBI with a bases-loaded walk for the Rays, who have won four straight and seven of nine since a four-game slide.

"He worked a great at-bat," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Allen's patience at the plate. "He hasn't played in a couple weeks. He was up there very calmly during that whole moment. I was very impressed with that. I thought it was important to try to add on at that point and we were able to do so."

Vernon Wells slammed a solo homer and Torii Hunter scored a run for the Angels, who have lost three straight and fell for the sixth time in eight games away from home.

Wilson (2-2) gave up two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out a season-high 11 batters in seven innings of work.

Hoping to add to the Angels' misery this afternoon will be rookie Matt Moore, who is 0-1 with a 5.12 ERA. Moore did not get a decision on Friday against Minnesota and allowed three runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Moore has never faced the Angels, who will turn to Jerome Williams.

Williams, who beat the Rays the only other time he faced them, picked up his first win of the season on Friday against Baltimore, as he surrendered three runs in 6 2/3 frames to improve to 1-1 to go along with a 7.71 ERA.

The Angels split eight meetings with the Rays last season.

04/26 10:32:31 ET