Both teams in fairly good form of late although Tampa Bay enters on a two game losing streak despite winning 6 of their last 9. The Rays are neck and neck with the New York Yankees for the AL East lead. Tampa Bay trails the Bronx Bombers by 1/2 game and with the Yankees in mediocre form of late they’ll be playing the White Sox in Chicago. Angels coming off a two game interleague sweep of their crosstown (?) rivals the LA Dodgers. They’re well off the pace in the AL West but then again so is everyone else. Houston is in complete control of the division with a 9 game lead over second place Texas, a 11 game lead over third place Oakland and a 12.5 game edge over the fourth place Angels.
The Rays have the best team ERA in baseball and it’s not even close. Tampa Bay is the only team in the majors with a team ERA under three (2.95). The next best is the LA Dodgers with a 3.33 ERA. If you’re looking for the Angels they’re way down near the bottom at #26 with a 5.01 ERA. The Halos’ pitching situation has been borderline desperate this year as evidenced by the fact that they’ve now used 15 different pitchers to start games. So why is the price on this game so low? First, there’s the Mike Trout factor–by association he makes the Angels a ‘public’ team and they’re priced accordingly.
The pitching situation on paper doesn’t look particularly advantageous for the home team. Ryan Yarbrough is 5-2 this year but his 5.32 ERA isn’t much to write home about. Then again, neither is Tyler Skaggs at 4-6 with a 4.97 ERA. This is Yarbrough’s first career start against the Angels but Skaggs faced Tampa twice last year pitching well in one game (6 hits 1 ER) and getting shelled in the other (8 hits and 10 earned runs). Both games were LA Angels losses. Tampa has made money against left handers this year (14-8 +3.6 units) while the Angels have lost a ton of money against southpaws with a 10-16 record for a -8.2 unit loss.
Tampa Bay has dominated the Halos in head to head play of late winning 10 of the last 14 meetings including 5 of 7 at home. Yarbrough could have his best outing of the season against an Angels team that doesn’t perform well against left handers and is coming in off the sweep of the Dodgers and a cross country flight.