Rays at Angels series primer

BY foxsports • June 1, 2015

Sayonara, losing streak.

By winning two of three games against the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend at Camden Yards, the Tampa Bay Rays regained some momentum and find themselves tied with the New York Yankees for the American League East lead. The Rays, with an effective combination of offense and defense, outscored the Orioles by a combined score of 12-5 on Saturday and Sunday to climb back into the win column.

Another chance to extend the upswing awaits. Their long road trip continues Monday through Wednesday in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels, a series that represents the first of two West Coast stops. After the stay in southern California, the Rays will travel to Seattle for four games.

Entering play Monday, only the Rays and Yankees (both 26-25) hold winning records among AL East teams.

The Angels, meanwhile, enter hot with a four-game winning streak after sweeping the Detroit Tigers over the weekend. At 27-24, they're four games behind the surprising Houston Astros for the AL West lead.

Here's a closer look at the upcoming Rays-Angels series:

SCHEDULE AND PROBABLE PITCHERS

WHO'S HOT

Joey Butler (Rays): He hit .400 (10 for 25) with one home run and one RBI in six games from May 25-31. He had three multi-hit contests in the span, including a day when he went 4 for 5 with two doubles in a victory over the Orioles on May 31. He has hit .342 with three home runs and eight RBI this season.

Johnny Giavotella (Angels): He hit .375 (9 for 24) with two RBI in seven games from May 25-31. He had three games with two hits each in the span. He has hit .271 with one home run and 17 RBI this season.

WHO'S NOT

Nick Franklin (Rays): He went hitless in 15 at-bats with three strikeouts in five games from May 25-31. The slump is part of a larger stretch in which he went hitless in 10 games from May 19-31. He has hit .069 this season.

Grant Green (Angels): He hit .167 (2 for 12) with four strikeouts in five games from May 27-31. He went without a hit in three games in the span. He has hit .222 with one RBI this season.

STORYLINES

2: Teams with a winning record in the AL East. The Yankees are the only other squad in the division with a record better than .500.

12-9: Rays' road record. It's the best in the AL East and the only one within the division that stands better than .500.

0: Times the Rays have played the Angels this season before this series. Los Angeles comes to Tropicana Field from June 9-11.

QUOTE BOARD

"We've just got to bear down. With runners in scoring position, we've got to find ways to be productive. That's the key right now. When we have runners in scoring position, we're not doing anything, myself included. We can get better at that." -- Outfielder Steven Souza Jr. to reporters, after the Rays' 2-1 loss to the Orioles on Friday at Camden Yards. The defeat marked Tampa Bay's sixth consecutive loss.

"It's nice to get a big lead and hold it. The guys played really good defense behind Erasmo. A good, solid ballgame on our part." -- Manager Kevin Cash to reporters, after the Rays' 3-0 victory over the Orioles on Saturday at Camden Yards. The result snapped a season-long six-game losing streak.

"It wasn't my best outing. It's odd, I think that's the most runs I've given up all year and get a win for it. I guess if that's what it takes to get a win I'll be happy to do it every time out." -- Right-hander Jake Odorizzi to reporters, after he allowed four runs, seven hits and struck out six in six innings during the Rays' 9-5 victory over the Orioles on Sunday at Camden Yards. He improved to 4-5 with a 2.61 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 11 starts this season.

LOOKING AHEAD

June 4-7 -- Rays at Mariners

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.


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