Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays
|Date & Time||Friday June 14, 2019, 7:10 PM (EDT)|
Tampa Bay, Florida
The Line: Los Angeles Angels +160 / Tampa Bay Rays -179 — Over/Under: 7.5
Shohei Ohtani and Albert Pujols provided the spark for the Los Angeles Angelswhen the lights went out at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field on Thursday night.
Ohtani set the crowd abuzz by becoming the first Japanese-born major leaguer to hit for the cycle, going 4-for-4 with a three-run home run, and Pujols lifted a two-run blast as the Angels beat the Rays 5-3 in the first game of a four-game series.
The two teams meet again Friday evening. In the second consecutive matchup of left-handed starters, the Angels will send out Andrew Heaney (0-1, 5.40 ERA) while the Rays will counter with Blake Snell (4-5, 3.50).
Stopping Ohtani will be a main concern for Snell and the Rays.
The two clubs sat through a 36-minute power outage with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Ohtani made history in front of 15,291 fans as soon as the power was restored.
With Los Angeles up 5-3 in the seventh inning and Ohtani needing just a single to complete the eighth cycle in team history, the Rays shifted third baseman Daniel Robertson over to shortstop as the only player on the left side of the infield — essentially giving Ohtani an easy base hit on any ball hit near third base or in the hole.
However, the second-year major leaguer swung away and lined a single into center field, becoming just the second visiting player and third overall to record a cycle at Tropicana Field.
Carlos Guillen’s cycle in 2006 as a member of the Detroit Tigers against the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays is the only other visitor to turn the trick in the Trop.
Former Rays outfielder B.J. Upton hit for the team’s only home cycle and team’s first overall in 2009 against the New York Yankees, completing it with a single in the fifth inning.
Angels manager Brad Ausmus said he knew Ohtani would provide plenty of power to his team’s lineup, but the first-year skipper said the 24-year-old designated hitter has surprised him, too.
“The consistent hitting I wasn’t sure about. 1/8He 3/8 proved me wrong,” Ausmus admitted.
Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash’s squad has been trying to close the gap on the first-place New York Yankees, and trips to Detroit and Boston last week were productive and seemingly had the Rays pointed in the right direction.
The team won five of seven games against the Tigers and Red Sox, but the return to Florida and the start of the seven-game homestand — complete with a fire at a substation in downtown St. Petersburg that caused the Trop’s power outage — has been a fizzle, not a sizzle, so far.
The Rays are just 1/3 with three games left on the homestand and remain one-half game behind the Yankees.
They also are just 18-17 in their domed home.
“We’ve got to do a better job at home,” Cash said. “Generally, you want to create the environment that when teams come in here it’s a challenging place to find wins. I think we’ve had some strong series here in homestands, but they’ve been leveled off here a little bit lately.
“We’ve got to do a better job of finding ways to win games at home.”
–Field Level Media