Based on their home dominance of the Tampa Bay Rays over the last decade, the Los Angeles Angels have to feel confident they can help their bid for a fifth AL West title in six years during the clubs’ three-game series in Anaheim.
After his milestone home run carried his club to victory in the series opener, Guerrero looks to extend his longest hitting streak of the season to 13 games as the Angels host the Rays on Tuesday night.
Los Angeles (66-44) is 35-8 against Tampa Bay (61-51) in Anaheim since it last lost a home series to the Rays from May 14-16, 1999.
Guerrero’s continued hot hitting might help the Angels down the stretch. The veteran outfielder is batting .357 with four home runs in seven games since coming off the disabled list for the second time this season.
He extended his hitting streak to 12 games with two homers Monday night, including the 400th of his career - a tiebreaking solo shot in the seventh inning that gave the Angels an 8-7 victory.
“It came at a moment when the team really needed it,” Guerrero said through a translator.
Guerrero is batting .417 with five homers, nine RBIs and 10 runs scored in 13 games against the Rays since the start of last season. He’s 6 for 17 (.353) against them this year.
Rays manager Joe Maddon admitted he’s not sure how to approach the Angels lineup after his club fell for the third time in the first four contests of its six-game trip.
“They’re swinging the bats very well right now up and down the lineup,” Maddon said. “They’ve got a lot going on offensively. They’re a different team. They’re taking their pitches and working better counts.”
Maddon hopes to find some answers Tuesday with David Price(notes) (5-4, 4.91 ERA) on the mound. Price has won back-to-back starts for the first time in his career. The rookie left-hander, who debuted in the majors last September, gave up two runs in six innings of a 6-4 home victory over Boston last Wednesday.
“David’s got a good head on his shoulders,” said Red Sox outfielder Rocco Baldelli(notes), another product of the Tampa Bay farm system. “He doesn’t get overwhelmed. He just takes care of his business quietly.”
However, Price is 0-3 with an 8.20 ERA in six road starts, compared to 5-1 with a 2.72 ERA at Tropicana Field.
Price made his only previous start against the Angels on June 11 at home, holding them to one run and two hits while striking out six. However, he also walked six and lasted only 4 1-3 innings, failing to get a decision in the Rays’ 11-1 victory.
Guerrero is 0 for 2 against Price.
Ervin Santana(notes) (4-6, 7.20), who will start for Los Angeles on Tuesday, has been even worse at home than Price has been on the road. The right-hander is 0-4 with a 12.38 ERA in six starts at Angels Stadium.
Santana’s last start came in Chicago, where he gave up four runs in six innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 9-5 on Thursday. He’s 3-4 with a 6.04 ERA in nine career starts against the Rays.