Tampa Bay Rays head to the West Coast for Sho-Time
By Kasey Kuhrts
It’s Sho-Time tonight in “The city of Angels” for the Tampa Bay Rays.
With no off day, the Tampa Bay Rays traveled cross-country after their 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros yesterday, and are set for a four-game set with the Los Angeles Angels. And game one of the series is can’t miss.
Both teams will send their aces to the mound on Monday night, and both are must see TV. Let’s start with the Angels.
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I teased it in the opening line, but the Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani will get the ball on Monday night.
Ohtani is appointment TV, there is no other way around it. One week ago today, April 26th, Ohtani became the first player in nearly a century to start on the mound, while he currently led the league in home runs.
Just think about that, all the talent. Oh, by the way, the last person to do it, some guy named Babe on June 13th, 1921.
When Ohtani takes the mound tonight he will be one home run shy on the MLB lead, as J.D. Martinez, Nick Castellanos, Kris Bryant, and Ronald Acuna Jr. all sit at nine, while Ohtani and six others sit at eight.
Now, we’ve talked about his hitting a bit, but how about his pitching?
Ohtani carries a 1-0 record in three starts into the matchup tonight. His ERA currently sits at 3.29, as of now league average is 4.04.
Along with his ERA, Ohtani carries a 1.39 WHIP, and 15.1 strikeouts per nine innings, nearly six strikeouts above league average.
There is no way around it, this guy is special. And it is a treat Tampa Bay Rays fans will get to watch him pitch tonight. I think it would be awesome to see Ohtani hit for himself in the Angels lineup tonight, which he has done multiple times this season.
However, if he does hit, it will be his toughest matchup on the season.
Tyler Glasnow will get the ball tonight for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Glasnow will bring his top-five ERA into the matchup tonight, as he is pitching to a 1.67 ERA in 37.2 innings.
Along with his incredible ERA, Glasnow is inside the top-ten in innings pitched, strikeouts, WAR (Wins Above Replacement,) WHIP, and strikeouts per nine innings pitched in the entire league.
In a word, dominate.
Glasnow is no stranger to pitching in Anaheim, as he as done it before in his Tampa Bay Rays career.
Glasnow was the opener on September 14th, 2019 in Los Angeles and fared well. Glasnow went three innings, allowing two hits, no runs, and racked up five strikeouts after only facing 12 batters. Obviously Glasnow didn’t pitch long enough to factor in the decision, but the Tampa Bay Rays went on to win 3-1.
Going a bit further back, Glasnow made his Tampa Bay Rays debut against the Los Angeles Angels back in 2018, but that start was at the Trop.
Glasnow pitched three innings in that start as well, allowing two hits, one run, striking out five. The only run he allowed was a solo shot from Kole Calhoun, the second batter Glasnow faced in his Tampa Bay Rays career.
Once again, the Tampa Bay Rays would go on to win 7-2.
And since we’re talking about history, Ohtani has some history off the Rays as well.
Ohtani made his seventh career MLB start against the Rays in LA back in 2018. To date, it is still the longest start of Ohtani’s career as he went 7.2 innings, allowing six hits, two runs, with nine strikeouts.
Ohtani faced 30 Tampa Bay Rays’ hitters, throwing 110 pitches, both career highs, in route to a 5-2 Angels win on May 20th, 2018.
Ohtani has some success in the batters box against the Rays as well.
His first career game against the Tampa Bay Rays came on May 17th of 2018. In his fourth at-bat of the game, Ohtani launched career home run number six off Austin Pruitt, breaking the shutout the Rays had going that day.
Fast forward to 2019, when Ohtani made history against the Tampa Bay Rays.
On June 13th, 2019 Shohei Ohtani became the 326th player in MLB History to hit for the cycle.
In his career against the Tampa Bay Rays, Ohtani is 10-for-29 at the plate, breaking down to a .344 batting average. With that, Ohtani has two career home runs, two doubles, one triple, five RBI’s, three walks, five runs scored, and a stolen base against the Rays. Not bad for a pitcher.
Although first pitch tonight isn’t scheduled until 9:38 PM EST, this game will be worth staying up for. If not to watch Glasnow and Ohtani duel, “Late Night with the Rays” is always a good time.