MLB: Angels Having a Devil of a Time in Tampa
For the last several months, the Los Angeles Angels have either been the best team in the American League or the best team in baseball.
For the last several months, the Los Angeles Angels have either been the best team in the American League or the best team in baseball. As of last evening, they have lost both positions and if they expect to reclaim top spot, the Angels will have to do something they have been unable to do all season, win at Tampa Bay.
Having lost the first two games of the series already at Tropicana Field, the Angels are 0-5 at the Rays home park and have lost just their eighth series of the year. Having dropped two of three in Cleveland in previous series, this is the first time since early June L.A. has lost back-to-back series and they have only been swept one other time all season, in Tampa Bay, May 9-11.
Though the Angels are in no danger of giving away their AL West lead, they would certainly like to post at least one victory in Tampa, as the way things are setting up, they might have to make this trip again in October when the pressure will really to be turned up.
After the Rays lost outfielder Carl Crawford and rookie of the year candidate Evan Longoria, the assumption was manager Joe Maddon’s club would finally come back to reality. Instead, Tampa Bay has swum away from all competitors, having won 16 of last 20 games and is 22-9 since the All-Star break, the best in the big leagues. The Halos may have the best road record in baseball at 39-25 (+15.4 units), however they have been no match for the Rays who have the highest marks for home teams at 47-17 (+25.1) and are the best wager in the game at +24.1 units.
Jered Weaver (10-9, 4.47, 1.312 WHIP) is given the assignment of derailing the Rays, as Los Angeles will be underdog for first time in the series. Sportsbook.com has the Angels as +110 money line dogs with total at 8.5. Possibly this role will help the Halos, who are 19-10 (+13.7 Units) against the money line as a road underdog of +100 or higher and 25-10 (+17.5 Units) on the road when the total is 8.5 to 10 this season. Weaver is 2-0 lifetime versus Tampa Bay with sterling 1.93 ERA.
These Rays have given L.A. a devil of a time and are more like sharks than former team nickname. Tampa Bay has destroyed clubs with solid pitching to the tune of 30-12, in home games vs. AL teams allowing 4.7 or less runs a game. For a team that has never had prosperity and has never been a consistent favorite, Tampa Bay has taken to this role like a duck to water, with 27-9 record as a home favorite of -125 to -175 this season. Matt Garza (10-7, 3.63, 1.211) will try to extend the Angels misery and is 6-2 at the Trop in 2008.
The total has real possibilities tonight, with Garza 13-3 UNDER at home with a money line of -100 to -150 over the last three seasons (Team's Record) and Weaver and L.A. 20-7 UNDER after a loss. Something will have to given on the ESPN2 contest which starts at 7:10 Eastern, as the Tampa Bay is 10-1 in home games after two straight wins by two runs or less this season and Los Angeles is 31-14 after two or more consecutive losses over the last two campaigns.
StatFox Power Line – Tampa Bay -126
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