Series Preview: Angels Face Tough Opponent In Surging Rays
Shohei Ohtani
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels are coming off another series win against the Washington Nationals, but now turn their attention to a much tougher opponent, the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Angels are currently first in the American League West with a 19-11 record and +27 run differential. They have won 6 of their last 10 games, but the Houston Astros are only half a game behind them with seven straight wins.

The Tampa Bay Rays share a similar record at 18-11, but they trail the AL East-leading New York Yankees, who have the best record in the AL, by two games. Through their 29 games, they have posted a +15 run differential and have won seven of their last 10.

Game 1: 6:38 p.m.

Noah Syndergaard will pitch the first game for the Halos looking to continue his strong start to the season.

Through four starts, he has posted a 2.63 ERA in 24 innings, but he has yet to post high strikeout numbers with just 14. The right-hander is still building up his velocity in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, and believes it will eventually come back, which should lead to more punch outs.

In his previous outing on May 3, Syndergaard pitched seven innings while giving up three earned runs.

The Rays have scheduled Jeffery Springs as an opener. The southpaw is capable of pitching a few innings but he will eventually be replaced by a long-man to give them a few innings. In nine games, Springs has pitched 13 innings and owns a 0.69 ERA with 14 strikeouts.

He last appeared on May 3 and pitched 3.1 innings while only giving up two hits and no runs.

Game 2: 6:38 p.m.

Reid Demers takes the ball in the middle game of the series. The talented left-hander has yet to show his true ability as he is currently sporting an ERA of 5.32 over five starts and 22 innings pitched.

The 2020 first-round pick still has a lot of time to figure it out and get back on track, but a stint in Triple-A could be good for his development. In his previous outing, he only threw 4.2 innings and gave up three earned runs.

Corey Kluber will start this one for the Rays. The 36-year-old former Cy Young award winner is turning back the clock this season with a 2.36 ERA and 25 strikeouts over 26.2 innings pitched.

In his last outing, Kluber pitched six innings and allowed no runs while striking out seven.

Game 2: 4:07 p.m.

In perhaps the most exciting matchup of the series, Shohei Ohtani will start for the Angels. The two-way star has posted a 3.08 ERA through his five starts while pitching 26.1 innings and striking out 41 batters.

Ohtani has returned to pitching at an elite level on the mound after a slow start and he’s coming off one of his best outings of the season when he pitched seven shoutout innings while striking out 11.

The Rays counter with their young ace, Shane McClanahan. The left-hander has thrown 32.1 innings across his six starts while striking out 47 hitters and posting an ERA of 3.06.

McClanahan isn’t coming off his best outing of the season, but he still managed to pitch 5.1 innings while allowing two earned runs. The 25-year-old has tremendous upside and between him and Ohtani, it should be a very exciting matchup.

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