Rays at Angels
C.J. Cron, traded by the Los Angeles Angels in February after struggling to find regular playing time, is excelling as an everyday starter with the Tampa Bay Rays. The first baseman/designated hitter carries a nine-game hitting streak into Thursday’s return to Anaheim, where the Rays are beginning a four-game series against his former team.
Cron has reached base safely in a career-high 22 consecutive contests and was a key factor Wednesday, when he helped Tampa Bay complete a three-game sweep of Kansas City by going 2-for-4 with a solo homer - his second in two nights - and three runs scored. “I know the home runs are great and he’s done that throughout his career, but the at-bats he’s having, finding ways to get hits, and then he did it on the bases, too,” manager Kevin Cash told reporters. “He’s helped us a lot. I’m glad he’s getting hot at the right time to go into Anaheim.” The Angels opened the week by dropping two of three to Houston, including Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to Justin Verlander, who threw a complete-game five-hitter. Two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani, expected to start Sunday’s series finale on the mound, looks to bounce back from a rare off-night at the plate after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Wednesday.
TV: 10:07 p.m. ET, FS Sun (Tampa Bay), FS West (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Chris Archer (2-3, 5.64 ERA) vs. Angels LH Tyler Skaggs (3-2, 3.07)
Archer tossed seven innings Saturday against Baltimore but allowed six runs and seven hits in the 6-3 loss. The two-time All-Star has given up four runs or more in eight of his last 14 starts dating back to Sept. 8, 2017. Ian Kinsler is 4-for-25 with eight strikeouts against Archer, who owns a 5-1 record and 2.55 ERA in seven career starts against the Angels, including 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in five outings at Angel Stadium.
Skaggs turned in another strong outing Friday, allowing two runs with seven strikeouts over six frames against Minnesota. The 26-year-old native Californian has struck out at least seven batters in three straight starts after reaching that total once in his first five outings. Skaggs is facing Tampa Bay for the second time after allowed five runs over six innings May 15, 2014.
1. The Rays are 23-10 at Angel Stadium since the start of the 2010 season, including 7-1 in their last eight games.
2. The Angels optioned Jaime Barria to Triple-A Salt Lake City and recalled fellow RHP Eduardo Paredes.
3. Tampa Bay placed OF Carlos Gomez on the 10-day disabled list with a right groin injury and recalled INF Christian Arroyo from Triple-A Durham.