Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Angels (-150, 8)
Three perfect games have been pitched against the Tampa Bay Rays in the past four years and after the first two, the Rays went on a run. History appears to be repeating itself as Tampa Bay goes for its third straight victory against the host Los Angeles Angels on Saturday. The Rays won eight of their next 12 after Mark Buehrle pitched a perfect game against them July 23, 2009 and took 10 of 13 following Dallas Braden's perfecto May 9, 2010. The Rays are 2-0 since Seattle's Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game against them Wednesday. Tampa Bay has won 10 of the last 11 meetings with Los Angeles and 11 of the last 13 in Anaheim, including a 12-3 victory Friday.
The Rays, who lead the American League wild-card race by a half-game over Detroit and Baltimore, have won 14 of their last 19 games. The Angels are slumping and so is their top hitter. Albert Pujols is 6-for-40 in his last 10 games and Los Angeles is 6-11 in August to fall 2 1/2 games behind the Tigers and Orioles for the final AL wild-card spot. Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb has won three straight games, allowing one run in each contest, and has recorded four consecutive quality starts - all seven innings. The first was a 3-1 loss in Anaheim on July 27. The Angels' C.J. Wilson pitched better in his last start, but hasn't won in nine starts and is 0-5 during that span.
TV: 9:05 p.m. ET, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), FS West (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Alex Cobb (7-8, 4.08 ERA) vs. Angels LH C.J. Wilson (9-9, 3.32)
Cobb has struck out 18 and yielded 13 hits over his last three starts in victories over Seattle, Toronto and Oakland. Two of the wins came on the road, where he is 4-3 this season. Cobb allowed three runs and eight hits against Los Angeles. Cobb was 1-0 in two outings against the Angels last season and earned his first major league victory against them June 7. The Angels' roster is hitting .254 against him with Albert Pujols 3-for-3 and Torii Hunter 4-for-7.
Wilson, whose last victory came June 26 at Baltimore, allowed three runs (two earned), six hits and struck out five in 6 2/3 innings in a 6-2 loss to Cleveland on Monday. The Angels are 1-7 in Wilson's last eight outings. Wilson is 4-2 with a 2.35 ERA against Tampa Bay, including a 3-0 loss at Anaheim on July 28. The Rays' roster is hitting .162 against him, with Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton and Desmond Jennings a combined 6-for-46 with 17 strikeouts.
*Tampa Bay is 9-2 in its last 11 overall.
*Over is 8-2 in the Angels’ last 10 overall.
*The Rays are 10-1 in their last 11 meetings with Los Angeles.
*Under is 7-1 in the last eight meetings between the clubs.
UMPIRE TRENDS- Alan Porter
*Over is 5-1 in Porter’s last six games behind home plate.
*Road team is 4-1 in Porter’s last five Saturday games behind home plate.
1. Tampa Bay had recorded three consecutive shutouts at Angel Stadium and had its 34-inning scoreless streak end Friday when Erick Aybar homered in the third inning.
2. The Rays are 9-2 since Evan Longoria returned after missing 85 games with a hamstring injury.
3. Tampa Bay RHP J.P. Howell pitched a perfect ninth inning Friday to extend his scoreless streak to 23 2/3 innings, breaking the franchise record of 23 set by Shields in 2011.