After winning the franchise’s first-ever World Series title last year, the Anaheim Angels have spent this season flirting with the .500 mark.
Anaheim looks to start June off on a positive note as it faces the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the finale of a four-game set at Tropicana Field.
The victory was just the fourth in the last 10 games for the defending champs, who went just 13-13 in May.
The Angels are hoping veteran right-hander Aaron Sele can overcome his personal struggles to help the team start the month off in a winning manner. Sele has dropped three straight starts, including back-to-back efforts against the Orioles.
After allowing five runs—three earned—six hits over six innings of a 7-6 defeat to the Orioles at Edison Field on May 21, he was tagged for six runs and seven hits over just 3 2-3 innings of a 12-4 defeat at Baltimore on Tuesday.
“There is nothing wrong with my health,” said Sele, who started the season on the disabled list while recovering from shoulder surgery. “My velocity is there. I’m throwing as hard as ever, but my command isn’t there. That’s the problem.”
Perhaps facing Tampa Bay, against which he’s 6-0 with a 4.67 ERA in eight career starts, can help snap his losing skid.
The Devils Rays fell victim on Saturday to another Angels’ starter with an impeccable record against them, as Anaheim’s Kevin Appier improved to 8-0 with a 1.71 ERA In eight career starts against Tampa Bay,
Rookie sensation Rocco Baldelli continued his torrid pace, going 2-for-4 to raise his average to .340.
The Devils Rays have lost eight of their last 11, and are winless in their last five series after winning a franchise-best three in a row earlier in the month.
STANDINGS: Angels - 3rd place, 10 GB, AL West. Devil Rays - 5th place, 10 GB, AL East.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: Sele (1-3, 9.00 ERA). The right-hander is allowing a .378 average to right-handed hitters this season, while left-handed batters are hitting just .171 against him.
DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Carlos Reyes (0-1, 5.14 ERA). The veteran right-hander pitched well in his last start, considering it was his first appearance in the major leagues in three years, but was on the losing end of a 4-2 defeat to Texas on Tuesday night. Reyes, who allowed four runs and six hits in seven innings, had not started a big league game since Aug. 12, 1997, for Oakland at Baltimore. He had not pitched in the majors since making 12 relief appearances for the San Diego Padres three years ago.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Angels - Garret Anderson, .304 avg. and 42 RBIs; Troy Glaus, 11 HRs and 34 runs; Adam Kennedy, 9 SBs. Devil Rays - Rocco Baldelli, .340 avg. and 31 RBIs; Aubrey Huff, 14 HRs and 34 runs; Chris Crawford, 12 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Angels, 4-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Angels - RHP Troy Percival, out with a hip injury, reported no problems after throwing 55 pitches during a 12-minute bullpen session Saturday. It was the first time Percival has thrown off the mound since going on the 15-day disabled May 23. Percival is scheduled to throw again Sunday and pitch in a simulated game Wednesday. Barring any setbacks, he might be ready to be activated when eligible to come off the DL. … 3B Glaus snapped an 0-for-14 streak with a second-inning single on Saturday. … OF Figgins was making his first major league start in the outfield on Saturday, replacing OF Anderson in left field. Anderson was the designated hitter. Devil Rays - DH Ben Grieve is hitting .423 (11-for-26) against RHP Sele in his career. … RHP Reyes, a pitching coach in rookie ball for the Padres’ Idaho Falls affiliate in the Pioneer League in 2002, was called up by the Devil Rays this season after going 5-1 with a 1.19 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A Durham this season. … INF Damion Easley is 5-for-23 in his career against RHP Sele.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Angels - 11-15 on the road; Devil Rays - 12-15 at home.
INJURIES: Angels - OF Darin Erstad (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Percival (hip), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Wise (elbow), 60-day DL. Devil Rays - IF Rey Ordonez (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Seth McClung (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Steve Parris (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Bobby Seay (shoulder), 15-day DL.