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Series Preview: Angels @ Rays (Opening Time)

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The Battle of the Openers Begins

Los Angeles Dodgers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Angels (33-35) @ Rays (41-26)

I asked Ashley MacLennan of DRays Bay to give us some insight on the Rays:

The Rays are headed into this weekend’s 4-game series having gone 6-4 over their last 10, and dropping two of three to the A’s in an home series to start the week. In fact, the location of the Trop is likely a boon to the Angels, as the Rays have and 18-16 record at home as opposed to their very strong 23-10 road numbers. The pitching rotation is up in the air right now, but I’d expect to see both Blake Snell and Charlie Morton used in this series, so... good luck to you there. The biggest issue on their side right now is lack of rest. The Rays haven’t had an off day since June 3, and won’t have one again until June 24. That is a long run without a break, and for a team without a traditional pitching staff, it’s going to put a lot of pressure on their bullpen. We’re already seeing them start to use the Opener with slightly less frequency over this span, using guys like Yarbrough and Chirinos as more traditional starters. What the Angels CAN expect is a pretty tough offense to square off against. The key to beat the Rays is to keep them from scoring early, or to keep the score close. The Rays have a bad habit of losing with a one-run difference, so if they’re kept off the board early, they can often struggle to come back from that. With all that said, though, this is a team no one expected to do any better than third in the AL East, and they’re currently trading the number one spot with the Yankees on a near daily basis. They are postseason hungry and they’ll be hard to beat.

Probably doesn’t give you warm fuzzies does it? Well, the Angels weren’t supposed to win EITHER game agains the Dodgers and we know how that turned out. We get to face our old friend Ji-Man Choi but his damage many be limited as the Angels have 3 lefty starters in this series.

Rays pitchers for games 2-4 are not official at this point in time so below are the “probable” pitchers in those games.

Know your foe:

Rays - who’s hot (last 7 days):

Weather Forecast

GAME 1

(L) Tyler Skaggs (4.97 ERA) v. (L) Ryan Yarbrough (5.31 ERA)
Thursday, June 13th @ 4:10PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats

Angels Summary:

Tyler Skaggs had a pair of starts against the Rays in 2018 with very mixed results. He held them to 1 run over 6 innings at home and was destroyed with 10 runs and 8 hits in Florida. Skaggs hasn’t lasted more than 3.1 innings over his past 5 starts. Should we be concerned yet?

Pitch Data:

Rays Summary:

Like Skaggs, Ryan Yarbrough made 2 starts against the Angels last year with mixed results. In his case, he was good away and terrible at home. This makes for an interesting matchup indeed. Yarbrough hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs over his last 10 appearances.

Pitch Data:


GAME 2

(L) Andrew Heaney (5.40 ERA) v. (L) Blake Snell (3.50 ERA)
Friday, June 14th @ 4:10PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats

Angels Summary:

Strikeouts are not one of Heaney’s problems. In fact, he already has 28 over his 16.2 innings in 3 starts. Heaney has looked pretty good in those 3 games, aside from the 5 runs he gave up last time out against Seattle.

Pitch Data:

Rays Summary:

Blake Snell? Ugh. If there is any silver lining, it’s that Snell gave up 6 runs to Detroit on June 4th and 7 runs to the Royals on May 1st. But runs don’t come easy against Snell who has allowed 2 or fewer runs in 9 of his 13 starts this year.

Pitch Data:


GAME 3

(L) Jose Suarez (4.35) v. (L) Charlie Morton (2.10 ERA)
Saturday, June 15th @ 10:10AM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Angels Summary:

Jose Suarez makes his third big league start on Saturday. Over his first two games he’s allowed 5 runs on 9 hits over 10.2 innings. Seems Suarez is on a pitch limit and probably throw around 90 pitches if all goes well for him.

Pitch Data:

Rays Summary:

Charlie Morton is the gift that keeps on giving (to his teams). The 35 year old so far has been even better than he was the past few years in Houston. The Angels had him figure out last year though with 5 runs over 5 innings across two games. Morton currently has a streak of 15 scoreless innings.

Pitch Data:


GAME 4

(R) Griffin Canning (3.65) v. (R) Ryne Stanek (2.63 ERA)
Sunday, June 16th @ 10:10AM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Angels Summary:

In only 8 games, Canning has emerged as a top pitcher on this team. His ERA of 3.65 doesn't even tell the whole story. He also has a 0.992 WHIP and one of the best swing and miss ratios among MLB staters. Canning throws a lethal slider that gets hit around at times but also generates a 55% whiff rate.

Pitch Data:

Rays Summary:

Ryne Stanek has the best GoT name in baseball - since it actually IS a GoT name. Oh, and he’s also been slicing up batters like Ayra and her Needle (sorry not GoT watchers). Stanek has a 1.115 WHIP to go with his stellar ERA. Have no fear through Angels fans.. If Stanek starts this game he’s unlikely to go more than 2 innings since he hasn’t thrown more than 33 pitches all year and is more of an “opener”.

Pitch Data:


Overall Verdict: This series could be rough for the Halos has they face two lefties and a tough team that is likely playoff bound. I’m a fan of the pitching the Angels have in this series and if nothing else - at least Harvey and Cahill won’t be making appearances. I’m calling a series split which is probably a bold prediction.

Current Standings (sorted by playoff odds)

Notes/Credits:
(Pitch tracking data from baseballsavant.mlb.com)
(Splits from FanGraphs Splits Tool and Baseball Reference)
(Standings/odds from fivethirtyeight.com)