Rays look to rebound against Angels

BY foxsports • July 28, 2012

The Los Angeles Angels made a big splash during the offseason by bringing in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.

It appears they weren't done shopping, adding Zack Greinke to what now has to be considered one of the most star-studded rotations in the game - especially if Wilson puts his recent scuffles behind him.

Wilson tries to avoid going winless in six starts this month when the Angels continue a three-game set with the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.

Los Angeles (55-45) created a stir Friday by acquiring Greinke - arguably the most coveted arm on the market - from Milwaukee in exchange for shortstop Jean Segura and two minor league pitchers. The 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner joins fellow All-Stars Wilson, Jered Weaver and a now-healthy Dan Haren in the Angels' rotation.

"It should be fun. They are a great team," Greinke said. "After the first month of the season, they have been one of the best teams in baseball. There is a lot of talent there. A lot of great players. The pitching staff will be pretty incredible."

Los Angeles figures to be all more dominant if Wilson (9-6, 2.89 ERA) picks up the pace. Since going 9-4 with a 2.36 ERA over his first 16 starts, the left-hander is 0-2 with a 4.55 ERA over his last five.

In his most recent outing, Wilson surrendered three runs and nine hits over 6 2-3 innings Monday in a 6-3 victory over Kansas City.

"You go through streaks where you get lucky and streaks where you get unlucky. You just have to look at the performance you do for yourself," he said. "Tonight, I gave up three runs. I'm upset about that."

A matchup with Tampa Bay (51-49) could be just what Wilson needs to regroup. He's gone 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA over five career starts against the Rays while limiting them to a .188 average and striking out 40 in 33 2-3 innings.

Winners of four of five overall, the Angels snapped a six-game skid in this series with Friday's series-opening 3-1 victory. Haren threw six strong innings and Pujols had three hits and two RBIs in his return to the lineup after sitting out Wednesday with a sore elbow.

Jeff Keppinger, meanwhile, provided all of Tampa Bay's offense with his fourth homer. The Rays have gone 1 for 19 with runners in scoring position in losing their last two games - including an 0-for-7 effort Friday.

"We've talked about it. It's the same story. The opportunities are out there. We just have to do better," manager Joe Maddon said.

The Rays try to get back on track behind 23-year-old Matt Moore (6-7, 4.23). The highly touted left-hander allowed two runs and five hits without a walk while striking out seven over a career-best eight innings Sunday in a hard-luck 2-1 loss to Seattle.

It was the first time in 19 starts this year Moore, whose 4.39 walks per nine innings ranks among the worst in baseball among qualified starters, did not issue a base on balls, giving him something to build on for this outing.

"That was really kind of the mindset ... attack and make them beat me with base hits and not walks and working counts," he told the team's official website.

In his only career appearance versus the Angels, Moore yielded three runs, five hits and two walks over 5 2-3 innings of a 4-3, walk-off win April 26.

Moore won't have to worry about facing shortstop Erick Aybar, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken big toe on his right foot.

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