Date/Time: September 4th, 10:05 PM ET
Probable Starters: Hellickson (Tampa Bay) vs. Weaver (Los Angeles)
Moneyline: Angels -130
After splitting the first two games of this four-game set, the Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays will fight it out in Game 3 to determine who will certainly get out of Angel Stadium with at least a series split on the MLB betting odds.
Tampa Bay is really in some trouble, and it needed that 7-1 victory last night in a big time way. That stopped a skid of eight out of nine games that ultimately put the team in some dire straits in the AL East race. There are four games in the loss column to make up on the Boston Red Sox, and the likelihood of that happening isn’t ultimately all that good. However, the team does still have a grasp on one of those two Wild Card spots, though it would love to make sure that the one-game playoff comes at home and not on the road. Right now, that game would be played against the Oakland Athletics at the O.co Coliseum. Tampa Bay is using RHP Jeremy Hellickson on the bump tonight. The righty is 10-8 on the season with a 5.21 ERA, but his WHIP of 1.35 suggests that he should be doing just a little bit better than that. However, Hellickson has been terrible of late. He has only survived five full innings once in his last six starts, and he has allowed at least three runs in each of those outings.
For all of their flaws this year, the Angels are actually playing some respectable baseball at the moment. They had won five straight and nine out of 10 before last night’s loss, and that at least had them thinking about the prospects of perhaps finishing .500 again. However, this lineup isn’t a shell of what it was supposed to be. 1B Albert Pujols has been shut down for the season, while 2B Howie Kendrick is on the DL. OF Josh Hamilton, who has underachieved all season long, has a sinus infection which caused him to miss last night’s game, and he might be out of the fold again tonight. RHP Jered Weaver gets the ball from Manager Mike Scioscia in this one. Weaver really has had a pretty darn good year, but he hasn’t gotten a heck of a lot of help. The righty is 9-7 on the year, but a 3.30 ERA and 1.13 WHIP hint at the fact that he really should be doing a lot better than this. The team is only giving him 3.6 runs per game of support though, and that isn’t cutting it.
We get the feeling that Hellickson is going to come up with his best game now that his back is against the wall and his spot in the rotation is legitimately up in the air. Go with Tampa Bay to figure out how to outduel Weaver and the Angels on Wednesday night.
Tampa Bay Rays @ Los Angeles Angels Pick: Tampa Bay Rays +125
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.