Rough couple of days for both yours truly (back-to-back losses) and the Tampa Bay Rays, who saw an eight-game winning streak halted Tuesday when they blew a 2-1, ninth-inning lead in Seattle, then were on the wrong end of Felix Hernandez’s perfect game yesterday afternoon, losing 1-0. I like Tampa to resume its winning ways in Anaheim tonight for several reasons, chief among them is that ace David Price is on the hill. Price is 15-4 with a 2.50 ERA on the season; he’s delivered 10 consecutive quality starts; and in his last two starts against the Angels, he’s allowed just one run, 10 hits and one walk with 13 strikeouts in 16 innings, with the Rays winning 5-1 (last year) and 5-0 (this year, with Price going the distance).
While I’m high on Price, I’m selling Dan Haren stock. The Angels’ No. 2 starter hasn’t pitched like it at all this season, going 8-9 with a 4.68 ERA, including 4-6 with a 4.56 ERA at home. Not only are the Angels just 8-13 when Haren pitches, but they’re 4-8 in his 12 home outings. That includes Saturday’s 7-4 loss to the Mariners, with Haren yielding seven runs (five earned) in a season-low 3 1/3 innings. Admittedly, the right-hander has strong career numbers against the Rays (7-3, 2.60 ERA in 12 starts, including a 3-1 win in Tampa on July 27). But Haren’s not in Price’s league right now. Plus, Haren has pitched more than six innings just once in his last 10 starts (and it was 6 1/3), which means the Angels’ relievers (and their 4.02 ERA) are going to get involved in this one.
Finally, there’s this: Not only is Tampa Bay 4-1 the last five times Price has faced L.A., the Rays have taken eight of the last nine overall in this rivalry, and in those nine games—and this includes Haren’s 3-1 win last month—the Angels have produced the following run totals: 1, 1, 3, 0, 2, 3, 3, 0, 0.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Wednesday’s Result: Pirates (+135) vs. Dodgers (Loss)