Rays-Angels Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated August 16, 2012
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After his team was on the wrong end of a perfect game for the third time in four seasons, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon is confidently looking ahead. A visit to Anaheim could help the Rays forget their latest dubious milestone. David Price can become the majors' first 16-game winner while trying to help the Rays avoid a third straight loss and continue their recent success against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night. Tampa Bay (63-54) is again a postseason contender, but became the first team in major league history to have three regular-season perfect games thrown against it after Seattle's Felix Hernandez struck out 12 in a 1-0 victory over the Rays on Wednesday. No-hit for the fifth time in the 15-year history of the franchise, the Rays were also victims of perfect games by Oakland's Dallas Braden in 2010 and Mark Buehrle of Chicago White Sox in 2009. "The one thing I've learned is that no-hitters and perfect games don't mean anything about tomorrow, anyway,'' said Maddon, whose team has totaled two runs in losing back-to-back games after averaging 5.9 during a seven-game winning streak. The Rays are 2-2 in games immediately after being no-hit. "We don't care how (the Rays are) feeling, or if they're scuffling, we have our own business to take care of," Los Angeles outfielder Mark Trumbo told the Angels' official website. It would seem Tampa Bay has a good chance to bounce back at Los Angeles, where it's won nine of 11 and shut out the Angels (62-56) in the final two of a three-game set last month. Though the Rays have never posted three consecutive road shutouts against the same opponent, the Angels were blanked at home three straight times by Texas from July 6-Sept. 30, 1989. The Rays have outscored Los Angeles 18-8 while winning five of six in 2012. Price (15-4, 2.50 ERA), 3-2 with a 3.48 ERA in seven starts versus Los Angeles, tossed a five-hitter in a 5-0 home victory April 24. The left-hander yielded two runs in seven innings of a 4-2 win at Minnesota on Saturday to improve to 7-0 with a 1.89 ERA in 10 starts since losing to the New York Mets on June 13. Price is 6-0 with a 2.50 ERA in eight road starts since losing at Yankee Stadium on May 10. "Coming off my last one, I'm very eager to get back out there in Anaheim," he told the Rays' official website."They have a very good lineup." Price gets his first look at star Angels rookie Mike Trout, who hit his 22nd homer in an 8-4 win over Cleveland on Thursday. Trout is batting an AL-best .340, but is 1 for 8 with three strikeouts against the Rays. Trumbo is 4 for 9 with a homer versus Price. Los Angeles is looking for a third straight victory after winning its first series since taking two of three from Kansas City July 23-25. Scheduled starter Dan Haren (8-9, 4.68) allowed four runs in 18 innings while going 2-0 in his previous three starts before he was tagged for seven in 3 1-3 innings of a 7-4 home loss to Seattle on Saturday. The right-hander has allowed at least one homer in nine straight starts overall, and one in 10 consecutive outings versus Tampa Bay, but is 7-3 with a 2.60 ERA in 12 starts against the Rays. He allowed a long ball to Jeff Keppinger in six innings of a 3-1 home win over Tampa Bay on July 27. Rays star and southern California native Evan Longoria is 1 for 5 versus Haren, but he has batted .426 (20 for 47) with four homers and 13 RBIs in 13 games at Angel Stadium. Longoria, however, is 1 for 14 with six strikeouts in his last four games overall.
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