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Series Preview: Angels @ Rays (Last @ Last)

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Last place West meets last place East

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay has lost 16 of their last 18 games and were just swept by the Tigers in a 4-game series.  The Angels have only fared slightly better, but have lost 11 of their last 13.  One of these teams is going to come away some much needed wins.

Like the Angels, the Rays have had a pretty rough season and are last in runs scored in the American League, despite being 4th in total home runs.  The Rays are also last in batting average and have the second most Ks in the league (behind the Astros).  Statistically, both teams line up fairly close in pitching.

The Angels could really use some wins here since their upcoming weekend series leading up to All-Star break is against the tough-hitting first place Baltimore Orioles.

Back in May, the Rays rolled in to Anaheim and swept the Angels in 3 games, but all was not lost since Arte Moreno now has a selfie-stick record.

Biggest question(s):  How many home runs will we see in this series?

Game 1
Nick Tropeano vs. Matt Moore
Monday, July 4th, 2016 @ 10:10PM

Tropeano is back!

Matt Moore v. Angels Current Lineup (Career)
AB HR K% BA FIP
28 2 14.7 .250 7.63
Nick Tropeano v. Rays Current Lineup (Career)
AB HR K% BA FIP
29 2 30.3 .310 6.10
Players/Stats to watch:

Mike Trout & Albert Pujols v. Matt Moore (last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
16 4 2 2 .250
Nick Tropeano had some good success in the minors on his recent rehab assignment.  Before his injury, Tropeano was one of the most consistent Angels starters with his 3.86 ERA.  NiTro mowed down the Rays back on May 8th with 10 Ks through only 5.1 innings.  He gave up 3 runs though, and ended up with the loss.  Look for some more Ks in this game as super NiTro takes on the high K'ing Rays.
Matt Moore has gone 6 or more innings his last 5 starts and in two of those games he gave up zero runs and only 5 total hits.  He's been pitching well lately, but he did give up 5 runs to Baltimore last week.  Matt Moore has given up 16 long balls so far in 2016.
VERDICT: Could be a close game since both of these guys have been pitching well.  Hopefully the Angels offense can get to Moore and give Tropeano some early support.

Game 2
Tim Lincecum vs. Jake Odorizzi
Tuesday, July 5th, 2016 @ 4:10PM

The Freak is in Florida.

Tim  Lincecum v. Rays Current Lineup (Career)
AB HR K% BA FIP
38 3 25.0 .211 6.70
Jake Odorizzi v. Angels Current Lineup (Career)
AB HR K% BA FIP
52 1 18.3 .212 3.88
Players/Stats to watch:

Brad Miller & Logan Morrison v. Tim Lincecum (last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
11 4 4 2 .363
Mike Trout v. Jake Odorizzi (last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
6 4 1 0 .667
Tim Lincecum is still trying to prove himself worthy in his comeback from surgery.  His last two starts only last 3 an 4.1 innings and he gave up 9 runs on 15 hits in those games.  Lincecum hasn't faced the Rays since 2013.
The Rays beat the Angels back in May on the back of Odorizzi's 6 innings where he only allowed 2 runs.  Despite starting the year pretty strong, Odorizzi had a rough June with a 4.96 ERA.  He allowed only 2 runs on 3 hits and 7Ks in 5 innings against the Tigers his last time out.
VERDICT: Coin toss game.  If Lincecum can find his stuff, the Angels have a shot at a win.

Game 3
Jered Weaver vs. Drew Smyly
Wednesday July 6th, 2016 @ 4:10PM

"A lot of other people would’ve shut it down, that’s not who I am." - Jered Weaver

Jered Weaver v. Tampa Bay Rays (2015)
AB HR K% BA FIP
125 2 21.6 .224 3.26
Drew Smyly v. Anaheim Angels (2015)
AB HR K% BA FIP
15 0 32.4 .194 0.92
Jered Weaver is still fighting, but he's given up 10 runs in his last 10 innings.  Back on May 7th, he gave up only 1 earned run to the Rays through 6 innings.
Drew Smyly has given up 4 or more runs in 6 of his last 7 starts.  Smyly is another Rays pitcher who is struggling in 2016 and he's given up 19 home runs which is 1 shy of Weaver's allowed total and puts them both in the top 5 for allowed home runs in MLB
VERDICT: High scoring game.  You pick the winner!
Game 4
Hector Santiago vs. Blake Snell
Thursday July 7th, 2016 @ 9:10AM

Lefty v. Southpaw battle

Hector Santiago v. Tampa Bay Rays (2015)
AB HR K% BA FIP
40 3 22.7 .300 5.95
Blake Snell 2016 Stats (rookie)
ERA IP K BA WHIP
3.86 25.2 20 .284 1.71
Players/Stats to watch:

Even Longoria v. Hector Santiago (last 5 years)
AB H RBI 2B BA
6 4 0 1 .667
Blake Snell is a 23-year-old lefty who has never faced the Angels before since he was just called up earlier this year.  He is 1-4 in his 5 starts and has yet to really have a great outing this year.  He did only allow 1 run through 5 innings his last time on the mound, but it took him a lot of pitches to get that far.
Santiago only allowed 1 (unearned) run on Saturday against the Red Sox.  He has had a rough time this year so it's hard to know what we are going to get.  His last start was his 3rd quality start in his last 4 games, so he's trending in the right direction.  Santiago last faced the Angels in June of 2015 and he gave up 5 runs through 5 innings.

VERDICT: Santiago's veteran grit should give him the edge over the rookie and the Angels have a good shot at winning this game.
OVERALL VERDICT: I don't think either team will sweep.  A series split is a high possibility.