The host Tampa Bay Rays will look for a season sweep of the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday afternoon when they conclude a three-game series in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Rays have won four in a row and have won all six meetings against the Angels this season, including a lopsided 13-3 victory on Saturday during which eight Tampa Bay batters had hits.
“This offense is really good at what they do, 1 through 9 they were clicking,” said rookie starter Shane McClanahan, who struck out seven and pitched six innings in Saturday’s win. “We have some pretty good momentum right now so hopefully we can keep it going.”
Led by a career-high four hits from Ji-Man Choi, the Rays scored 11 runs after falling behind 3-2 in the third, and dealt the Angels their fifth consecutive defeat.
“We just got beat,” Los Angeles manager Joe Maddon said. “We’ve just to throw this one away and come back tomorrow and play it right.”
Shohei Ohtani continues to be a force in the Angels’ lineup and keeps producing in different ways. A day after he crushed a 453-foot home run, he hit a pitch at a 29 mph exit velocity that bounced over Choi at first and resulted in an RBI double. The hit was the slowest for an extra-base hit since StatCast tracking data became available in 2015.
“Nobody else can do what he does, both sides of the ball,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He gets down the line as fast as anybody I’ve seen.”
But Angels’ pitching couldn’t contain the Rays’ onslaught that would follow.
“You’ve got to finish games off, all the different things that a winning team does,” Maddon said. “That is winning baseball, and that’s what we have to do.”
Sunday’s series finale will feature a matchup of versatile lefties between the Angels’ Patrick Sandoval (2-2, 3.69 ERA) and the Rays’ Ryan Yarbrough (4-3, 4.59).
Yarbrough, who either starts or follows an opener, did the latter in his most recent outing in Boston last Tuesday.
Yarbrough threw 67 pitches and lasted only two innings when he followed Andrew Kittredge, who opened the game. Yarbrough allowed five runs on five hits including a two-run home run to Hunter Renfroe in a 9-5 loss to the Red Sox.
In Yarbrough’s most recent start on June 16 against the Chicago White Sox, he pitched 6 1/3 innings and gave up five earned runs (seven overall) on 10 hits, striking out five and walking one on 96 pitches.
Yarbrough is 3-2 with a 6.49 ERA in 26 1/3 career innings covering two starts and three relief appearances against the Angels.
Sandoval will make his seventh consecutive start since moving into the rotation in mid-May. He is 2-2 with a 3.13 ERA in 31 2/3 innings as a starter this season with 32 strikeouts and 10 walks, and has won his past two starts.
In his most recent outing, Sandoval gave up three runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Tigers on June 19. He struck out nine and walked two.
This will be Sandoval’s second career start and third appearance overall against the Rays. He has pitched six innings against Tampa Bay and has a 1.50 ERA with eight strikeouts and three walks.
The Rays placed left-handed pitcher Josh Fleming on the 10-day injured list with a right calf strain.
–Field Level Media