MLB

Sat, Aug 18, 2012 - 9:05 PM ET
 

Rays-Angels Preview

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The Tampa Bay Rays have been difficult to score on for most teams recently. The Los Angeles Angels have had trouble generating offense against the Rays all season.

That doesn't bode well for Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson's chances of ending a nine-start winless drought.

Wilson may not have much room for error against Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb, who looks to win his fourth straight start Saturday night when the Rays and Angels continue their weekend series.

Tampa Bay improved to 7-1 against Los Angeles this season with a 12-3 win Friday. The Rays chased Angels ace Jered Weaver, who faced seven batters in the fourth without recording an out in his shortest outing of the season.

B.J. Upton went 4 for 5 with a home run and three RBIs while Ben Zobrist and Jose Molina also homered for the Rays, who won for the 14th time in 19 games.

Tampa Bay (65-54), which currently holds the top AL wild card by percentage points over Baltimore and Detroit, shut out Los Angeles in each of the previous three meetings and has limited the Angels to 11 runs all year.

Los Angeles (62-58) had gone 34 consecutive scoreless innings against Tampa Bay before Erick Aybar homered in the third Friday.

"They've got a good staff," said Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, who also homered. "They've got guys that go out and pound the strike zone and get outs when they need to. They also play in a division where they've got to have great pitching. It seems like every time we face them they come out and throw well against us."

The Rays, who have a staff ERA of 1.52 over their last 19 games, will give the ball Saturday to Cobb (7-8, 4.08 ERA), who has given up one run in each of his last three starts and lasted seven innings in each of his last four.

The right-hander limited Seattle to four hits in Monday's 4-1 victory, lowering his ERA over his last seven starts to 2.97.

"Cobber was very good," manager Joe Maddon said. "And, as is typical for him, he's got better as the game was in progress. ... The curveball was outstanding again. And then the changeup, the depth at the end of the game before we took him out."

Cobb gave up three runs in seven innings of a 3-1 loss in Anaheim on July 27. Though he pitched respectably in that outing, it represented both Cobb's last loss and the last time Los Angeles had scored off Tampa Bay pitching before Friday.

The Angels hope Wilson (9-9, 3.32) can keep them in the game longer than Weaver did, but Wilson is 0-5 with a 5.04 ERA in nine starts since defeating Baltimore on June 26.

He had one of his better outings of that drought Monday against Cleveland, allowing three runs - two earned - in 6 2-3 innings, but received no run support while he was in the game and got charged with a 6-2 loss.

Wilson has also lost both of his starts against the Rays this year, giving up five runs in 13 2-3 innings.

The Angels have dropped 11 of 16 this month and are 2 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot.

Tagged: Angels, Rays, C.J. Wilson

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