After dropping two of three to the Detroit Tigers, the Los Angeles Angels needed some type of offensive rhythm in order to stand a chance against the perennial contenders, the Tampa Bay Rays. Unfortunately, that never came, as the Angels scored just eight runs over the course of a four-game sweep.
Four-game sweeps are relatively rare in baseball, even between teams that are over 15 games apart in the standings. But the Rays dominated the Angels in nearly every facet. In total, the Rays outscored L.A. 25-8, in the form of two blowouts, an extra-inning victory, and a classic pitcher’s duel.
The Angels also dealt with heavy external pressure, as it was during this series that team owner Arte Moreno announced that he would be exploring the option of selling the team. Throughout the week, the questions strayed further away from the game and focused more on his announcement.
However, that’s a minuscule excuse for a poor performance that drops the Angels to six consecutive losses, and a 1-9 record in their last 10 games, averaging 2.3 runs per game in that span.
Game 1: Rays def. Angels 2-1
In a relatively unlikely source for a pitcher’s battle, Jeffrey Springs and Tucker Davidson showed out in the series opener. Davidson, fresh off his first win as an Angel, allowed two earned runs on six hits and three walks over five innings.
The second run — a Randy Arozarena home run in the fifth — was all the Rays needed to secure a victory. Springs allowed one run on five hits and three walks, with Mike Trout landing the team’s lone RBI.
Both bullpens were remarkable, as the Angels combination of Aaron Loup, Ryan Tepera, and Andrew Wantz tossed 3.0 scoreless frames, giving up only one hit and two walks in the process. But the Rays bullpen was slightly better, allowing just one hit and one walk with five strikeouts over 3.1 innings.
Game 2: Rays def. Angels 11-1
Tuesday’s affair turned into an old fashioned blowout with a Rays offensive eruption against the Halos bullpen. Jose Suarez was the starter, and pitched relatively well in 5.1 innings. Three earned runs on eight hits and five strikeouts kept the Angels alive.
But the bullpen did not have their best day, as Jesse Chavez, Touki Toussaint, and Jose Quijada proceeded to allow eight runs — five earned — over the course of two innings. The Rays did not have the same misfortune, as they got a quality start from Corey Kluber and shutdown work from the relievers.
Trout was again the only RBI, as he blasted a solo home run to join the 1,500-hit club. Only four other players in Angels history have reached that mark in their careers.
Game 3: Rays def. Angels 4-3
Going into the series, it felt like an unlikely outcome that the Halos best chance to win would come in a game where Mike Mayers faced off against Cy Young hopeful Shane McClanahan. However, that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday night.
Both McClanahan and Mayers had scoreless outings, the former in 6.0 innings and the latter in 5.0. The first run of the game was not scored until the eighth inning, when — who else — Trout crushed another home run to tie the Angels all-time record for career runs scored.
But each time the Angels found themselves with the lead, the Rays would bounce back in the bottom half of the inning. L.A. scored one run in the eighth, 10th, and 11th frames, while the Rays scored one in the eighth and 10th, but secured the win with two runs in the 11th.
Jaime Barria was tacked with the blown save despite not giving up an earned run in his 1.1 innings of work.
Game 4: Rays def. Angels 8-3
For the second game of the series, the Angels gave up five or more runs in one inning. With Patrick Sandoval on the mound, the Angels defense faltered in the third frame, as the Rays managed five runs. Only one was charged to Sandoval.
But given the way the Angels offense has been playing for the better part of the season, a five-run inning essentially ices things. L.A. scored just three runs, a Taylor Ward home run and back-to-back RBIs by Shohei Ohtani and Jo Adell.
Now, the Angels face another tough battle in the Toronto Blue Jays before heading home to Anaheim.