LA Angels News

LA Angels Series Preview: Chasing the Rays for the Wild Card

By Ryan Falla
Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim speaks to Wilson Ramos #40 of the Tampa Bay Rays during the American League All-Stars workout during Gatorade All-Star Workout Day. Ramos could have been a nice piece to add to the Angels line-up (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim speaks to Wilson Ramos #40 of the Tampa Bay Rays during the American League All-Stars workout during Gatorade All-Star Workout Day. Ramos could have been a nice piece to add to the Angels line-up (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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All-Star season

If the Angels are going to get it done in a big way it’ll likely come on the backs of their All-Star core. Mike Trout has been slugging .850 over the last week with 3 HRs and 5 RBI’s; if he can bring that level of success into Tampa Bay the Angels will be in the best position possible to compete in this series, especially if the supporting cast continues their offensive tear as well. We saw what happened in the Dodgers series when Mike Trout was on fire, he literally saved the first game for the Angels with his 7th inning game-tying HR and probably saved the entire series as well.

Next to Trout we have Tommy La Stella, who is currently leading in All-Star votes for all 2B across the AL. La Stella has slowed down a bit after holding the 2nd highest batting average in the MLB next to Nolan Arenado since May; in the last week La Stella has hit .240/.269/.520 with 2 HRs and 4 RBIs. He’s still crushing the ball when he’s getting wood on it, but other than that he’s flailing pretty hard at the plate.

That can all change over the course of a series though and if La Stella is aiming to bounce back this series will be the perfect opportunity for a quick turn around. The Rays aren’t exactly pushovers, but if Tommy La Stella can heat his bat back up the Angels will be able to test how far the Rays can be pushed before they break.

The Angels shut down reliever Ty Buttrey has had a little trouble as of late, especially during the Dodgers series in which he danced in and out of danger while thankfully staying out of serious trouble. The Rays are a team that can and will threaten at every possible corner, just because the Angels nurse a comfortable lead doesn’t mean the Rays can’t chew it up and come out on top.

In order to avoid that the Angels will need guys like Buttrey shutting the door down without much wiggle room for the Rays to bat through. We saw the Angels coming dangerously close to letting the Dodgers hurt them in the latter innings of their matchup and something tells me they won’t get so lucky with the Tampa Bay Rays. Especially over a four-game set.

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