Rays-Angels Preview

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


“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


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.