Rays look to dominate another West Coast foe

Field Level Media

April 15, 2024 at 6:41 am.

After a successful weekend against one West Coast club, the Tampa Bay Rays will seek to repeat their series-winning ways against another starting Monday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Winners of two of three games against the San Francisco Giants, the Rays will welcome in the Los Angeles Angels on Jackie Robinson Day to open a four-game series.

Following a split of the first two matchups with the Giants, manager Kevin Cash’s crew brought out the lumber and knocked four home runs — two off former Rays ace Blake Snell — in a 9-4 victory on Sunday.

Rene Pinto and Amed Rosario each went deep against Snell, while Pinto crushed another to right field and Isaac Paredes homered in the club’s best power show of the season thus far.

Cash said the time was right to get to Snell, who was making just his second start with his new team.

“I’m glad we got Blake in start two. We know how talented he is,” said Cash. “He’s one of our game’s best. The command might not have been there, but the stuff certainly looked about the same.”

In his fourth start of the season, Zach Eflin (1-2, 6.35 ERA) will look to rebound from his second rough outing of the season in the Rays’ 7-1 loss to the Angels last Monday.

The right-hander allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings — one of the hits being a homer by Mike Trout.

Across four career starts against the Angels, Eflin is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA and a .250 batting average against.

The Angels are coming off a 5-4 loss in Boston on Sunday, their fourth loss in five games.

Los Angeles played without young standout Nolan Schanuel in the defeat. The first baseman was out with a testicular contusion after fouling a ball off his right inner thigh in Saturday’s 7-2 loss to the Red Sox.

In addition to the injury, the 22-year-old Boca Raton, Fla., native is off to a terrible start in his second season.

After batting .275 in 29 games last season, Schanuel is batting just .108 (4-for-37 with a homer and five RBIs) through 12 games. He has also whiffed 13 times.

He made headlines last season by reaching base in all 29 games he played after being called up in August.

However, his on-base prowess came to an unusual end recently when his infield single against the Baltimore Orioles was changed retroactively to a dropped catch error on reliever Mike Baumann.

That stopped Schanuel’s on-base streak at 30 games, the third-longest stretch in major league history to start a career.

Alvin Davis, the 1984 Rookie of the Year for the Seattle Mariners, holds the record at 47 games, followed by Truck Hannah’s 38 in 1918.

The club’s Opening Day starter, Patrick Sandoval (1-2, 6.57), lost in his most recent start, a 6-4 setback at home to the Rays last Tuesday. He yielded four runs on six hits in five innings.

“It was a big struggle,” Angels manager Ron Washington said of Sandoval’s outing. “A lot of 3-2 counts, just couldn’t command the fastball. Didn’t have any consistency with the off-speed, but he stayed in there.”

In seven career appearances (six starts) against the Rays, the left-hander is 0-3 with a 3.69 ERA. This will be his fourth start of the season.

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