Tampa Bay (78-48) at Los Angeles (62-65)

Fair Currently: Anaheim, CA
Temp: 74° F
  • Game info: 3:35 pm EDT Wed Aug 25, 2010
  • TV: SUN, FSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Earlier this season, the Tampa Bay Rays won a series in Anaheim for the first time in 11 years. On Wednesday, they will try for their first road sweep of the Los Angeles Angels when Jeff Niemann(notes) - who has never lost to an AL West opponent - becomes the second straight Rays starter to be activated off the disabled list.

Tampa Bay (78-48) endured a decade of futility in Anaheim, losing 34 of 42 games from 2000-09. The Rays reversed those woes by taking two of three May 10-12 from the Angels (62-65), and can go one better Wednesday as they try for the sweep.

Evan Longoria(notes) homered Tuesday among his three hits as Tampa Bay won its fourth straight, 10-3 to remain tied atop the AL East with the Yankees.

Longoria bounced back after going hitless for the first time at Angel Stadium in Monday’s 4-3 victory. The Southern California native is 18 for 44 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 11 career games in Anaheim.

The Rays enjoyed Tuesday’s rout after playing five straight one-run games to start their seven-game road trip.

“That was nice not having to hold our breath going into the eighth, ninth innings,” catcher John Jaso(notes) said.

It also allowed Tampa Bay to rest closer Rafael Soriano(notes), who had recorded saves each of the previous three days to raise his major league-leading total to 38.

The Rays activated Wade Davis(notes) off the DL on Tuesday, and he made his first start since Aug. 5 a successful one by allowing two runs over 5 1-3 innings.

Davis had a strained right shoulder - the same injury that’s held Niemann (10-3, 3.12 ERA) out since Aug. 3. The right-hander is now set to return and put his 5-0 career mark with a 3.65 ERA against AL West opponents on the line.

Niemann, though, hasn’t pitched that well against the Angels, going 1-0 with a 5.51 ERA in three starts. He does have excellent head-to-head numbers against Los Angeles regulars Hideki Matsui(notes) (1 for 10), Alberto Callaspo(notes) (1 for 9) and Bobby Abreu(notes) (1 for 8).

The Rays, a major league-best 39-24 on the road, have won nine of Niemann’s 10 starts away from home. He’s 5-1 with a 3.43 ERA in those outings.

Matsui continued his surge Tuesday with three hits. He’s hit safely in nine straight games, going 16 for 35 with two homers and nine RBIs.

It hasn’t helped the Angels, who have dropped seven of nine.

“I don’t have any more excuses. I’m out of them,” right fielder Torii Hunter(notes) said. “It seems like we’ve been in a slump for a long time and we need to fight through it.”

Los Angeles starter Dan Haren(notes) (1-4, 4.39) will face Tampa Bay for the first time since 2007. He’s 4-2 with a 2.74 ERA in seven starts against the Rays. He has never faced Longoria, but B.J. Upton(notes) is 7 for 15 against him.

The former Arizona right-hander turned in the worst of his six starts since joining the Angels on Friday, allowing seven runs over seven innings of a 7-2 loss at Minnesota.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Niemann TB vs. D. Haren LAD
12-8 Record 12-12
4.39 ERA 3.91
131 K 216
61 BB 54
1.26 WHIP 1.27


Wednesday, Aug 25