MLB Odds: Angels and Rays continue series

By: Jimmy Sirody | Monday, August 23, 2010
Carl Crawford

Carl Crawford leads Tampa Bay in hitting (.301) and stolen bases (41).

The Tampa Bay Rays had grown accustomed to getting squeezed in Orange County until they took two of three from the Los Angeles Angels in their initial visit this season in May.

The Rays returned to Anaheim on Monday night to open a three-game set with the Halos, riding high, having won seven of their last nine to stay within striking distance of the New York Yankees in the heated American League East pennant chase.

Los Angeles is a team on a treadmill. The Angels legs are moving, but they’re going nowhere. After going 2-4 in Boston and Minnesota, Los Angeles is eight games behind first-place Texas in the AL West. That’s the same deficit they had when they left on the trip.

The Halos have won 41 of the last 57 home meetings with the Rays and they had prevailed in the past 15 series at the Big A until this season.

Tampa Bay hasn’t missed a beat since two-fifths of its starting rotation went on the disabled list at the beginning of the month. Wade Davis will return to the mound to face the Angels on Tuesday and Jeff Niemann will get the ball in Wednesday’s series finale.

Davis (9-9, 4.46) will be making his first career start against the Angels. He has been on the disabled list since Aug. 5 with a sore right shoulder. The 6-foot-5 power pitcher is 4-3 on the road with a 4.49 ERA this season. The Rays have grabbed the green in six of his nine road outings.

The Halos are banking on Ervin Santana (13-8, 3.93) to keep their faint hopes alive. Santana survived a rough stretch where he was tagged for 13 runs and 22 hits in back-to-back starts. The veteran right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.66 ERA in his last three outings.

Santana has cashed seven of 10 at home with a 4.24 ERA. However, he has scuffled against the Rays, splitting eight career decisions with a 5.17 ERA

The anemic Angeles have been held to two or fewer runs 39 times this season, but in Santana’s last six starts they have averaged seven runs per game.

Tampa Bay boasts the best road record in baseball (37-24) and the Rays have thrived against AL-West foes (16-8). Conversely, Los Angeles has stumbled in 21 of its last 33 against AL-East tenants.

Sunny and hot is what the weathermen are saying for Anaheim on Tuesday.  Afternoon highs should reach into the mid-90s before cooling to the low-to-mid 80s by game time.  Winds are forecast out of the SSE at 5-10 mph (1B coaching box out to LF corner).

The series closes Wednesday afternoon with a noon-thirty local start time.  Niemann is expected to pitch for Tampa Bay with Dan Haren going for the Angels.

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