Wednesday night’s finale between the foes has a duel of
right-handed starters slated, with Tampa Bay’s James Shields (5-4, 2.77 ERA)
opposing Los Angeles’ Jered Weaver (7-4, 2.14 ERA).
The Los Angeles Angels have dropped four straight games, including
the first two contests of their present series against the Tampa Bay
Rays. Tuesday’s latest battle saw Tampa Bay come away with a 4-1 win as a
153 road dog, with Rays slugger Johnny Damon cracking two doubles and a triple.
Sportsbooks opened Weaver in the baseball odds as a 150 home
favorite, while first setting the ‘total’ at 6 ½ ‘over’ (minus 125).
Weaver notched his first win in seven starts with Friday’s 3-2
victory for Los Angeles as a 135 home favorite against the New York Yankees
(who play game 2 vs. the Boston Red Sox tonight). The 2010 All-Star went
seven innings (119 pitches), giving up both of New York’s runs on three hits.
Angels relievers Scott Downs and Jordan Walden logged a hold and
save, respectively. The duo united for three strikeouts in the final
two frames, while allowing no hits.
The tight affair’s combined five runs dipped below the ‘total’ of
7 ½ on the baseball betting board. Angels catcher Peter Bourjos
drove in the go-ahead run with a fifth-inning single, finishing 2-for-3.
Los Angeles is 14-17 in its first 31 home dates, with the ‘under’
going 19-8-4. Weaver is 3-1 in his five home outings (1.96 ERA),
with the ‘under’ going 4-0-1.
Shields logged a second straight loss in Thursday’s 8-2 defeat for
Tampa Bay as a 110 betting odds road dog against the Seattle
Mariners. The 29-year-old was shelled for all eight of Seattle’s
runs in four innings (93 pitches), including four homers.
Rays outfielder Matt Joyce went 2-for-4, poking a double and
homer. Joyce drove in one run, while mate Felipe Lopez brought in
the other, going 1-for-4.
The lopsided contest’s combined 10 runs soared above the ‘total’
of 6 ½. Tampa Bay was edged out in hits, 10-8, while recording two
The Rays are 18-13 in their first 31 road games, with the ‘over’
going 15-13-3. Shields is 4-1 in his six road starts, with a 1.02
WHIP and .262 OBP.
The first pitch of this matchup is scheduled for 10:05 p.m. (ET), with
Anaheim’s weather forecast calling for a 65-degree night and calm
winds. Umpire Scott Barry is slated for his 12th outing
of the year, with the ‘over’ going 8-1-2 in his first 11 called games.
This handicapper is backing
the Rays and Shields, looking for a road sweep at a price of plus 135.
Shields should regroup from his rough outing Thursday and pitched
well in April’s start against the Angels. The hurler allowed just
one run in eight innings, while logging 12 strikeouts.
Tampa Bay went on to win the matchup, 2-1, in extra innings,
making Joe Maddon’s club 6-2 in Shields’ last eight starts against Los Angeles.
The Angels have not provided run support in recent contests,
putting up 1.9 RPG in their last seven. Mike Scioscia’s crew is 4-10
in Weaver’s last 14 starts after scoring two runs or less in their previous
Rays slugger Evan Longoria has a chance of returning to the lineup
for Wednesday’s game, listed as “questionable” after recovering from the
flu. The former Silver Slugger is 3-for-8 lifetime against Weaver,
with three doubles.
Tampa Bay’s relievers have allowed a combined .218 BA, the lowest
in the American League. Rays closer Kyle Farnsworth has allowed no
hits or runs in his last five outings, picking up three saves.
Look for a tight battle to end the series, with the Rays squeaking
out another win at a solid price.