Angels-Rays Preview

The Associated Press

Clinging to the first AL wild-card spot, the Tampa Bay Rays are coming off a performance to forget.

If their recent efforts against the Los Angeles Angels are any indication, they may have a good chance to regroup Tuesday night.

The Rays go for a 13th win in 14 games against the visiting Angels as these teams meet for the first time this year.

Tampa Bay (74-55) enters this three-game set looking to avoid a third consecutive loss after falling 11-1 at Kansas City on Monday in a makeup of a snowed-out game from May. Evan Longoria and Wil Myers went hitless in a combined eight at-bats as the Rays went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

"They beat us up," manager Joe Maddon said.

The Rays have to be feeling good about bouncing back against Los Angeles (58-71). Tampa Bay has averaged 5.2 runs in taking 12 of 13 in the series, including the last six by a 42-14 margin.

Longoria is hitting .307 with eight homers, 22 RBIs and 22 runs in 29 career games against the Rays. Ben Zobrist is batting .345 with four homers and nine RBIs over the last eight in the series.

The Angels followed a 4-13 stretch with a three-game sweep at Seattle over the weekend, winning 7-1 on Sunday. Kole Calhoun hit a two-run homer and Chris Nelson added two RBIs for Los Angeles, which went 5 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

"The overall picture is not great, but this is a very good series for us. Sometimes, when other things aren't attainable, you start looking for other things that you can do," first baseman Mark Trumbo said.

"If we go on a nice little streak, that'd be awesome. Because there are some new faces, and if you can jell with the guys that you're currently playing with, you're that much better for it down the road."

Angels starters have a 1.27 ERA over the last five games, a stretch C.J. Wilson (13-6, 3.30 ERA) started last Tuesday in a 4-1, 14-inning loss to Cleveland.

The left-hander allowed four hits over 7 1-3 innings of one-run ball, extending his unbeaten streak to eight outings. He is 9-1 with a 2.63 ERA in his last 13 starts.

Wilson, though, is 0-3 with a 6.56 ERA in his last four against Tampa Bay, including a loss in the 2011 ALDS while with Texas. Zobrist hit two homers and a double in eight at-bats in their matchups last year.

Tampa Bay counters with Roberto Hernandez (6-13, 4.97), who is 0-2 with a 7.53 ERA in three starts this month. The right-hander threw a scoreless inning of relief in Friday's 7-2 win over the New York Yankees.

Hernandez went 0-4 despite a 2.44 ERA in eight starts versus Los Angeles while with Cleveland. Josh Hamilton is 1 for his last 12 against Hernandez, though that hit left the yard.

Hamilton has been swinging a hot bat of late, going 23 for 66 (.348) with three homers and nine RBIs in his last 16 games.

Tampa Bay's Desmond Jennings is 0 for his last 13 overall and 2 for 18 with six strikeouts against Wilson, including the postseason.

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