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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, August 17th (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Rays (64-54) at LA Angels of Anaheim (62-57), 10:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - James Shields (10-7, 4.02) LA Angels - Jered Weaver (15-2, 2.22)

(Sports Network) - Tampa Bay's David Price became the first 16-game winner in the majors on Thursday. Los Angeles' Jered Weaver could join him on Friday when Angels continue a four-game set with the Rays at Angel Stadium.

Weaver lost for the first time since May 13 on Sunday, as Seattle reached him for three runs and four hits in seven innings, dropping him to 15-2, while raising his ERA to a still American League best 2.22.

He had a nine-start winning streak stopped in that one and also saw his home ERA shoot up to 1.23 - also an MLB-low. He has made 44 starts since the last time he lost back-to-back games.

Weaver stands a good chance at getting back on track tonight, as he is 4-1 in seven starts against the Rays with 2.47 ERA. He has also pitched to a 1.99 ERA in three starts against them in Anaheim.

The Angels are also 17-2 in Weaver's last 19 home starts.

Tampa, meanwhile, will counter with an impressive right-hander of its own in James Shields, who is 10-7 with a 4.02 ERA. Shields did not get a decision on Sunday in Minnesota, but pitched well, as he allowed three runs (2 earned) and five hits in seven innings.

After giving up five runs to the Orioles on July 26, Shields has been nearly untouchable, allowing just three earned runs on 10 hits in 24 innings over three starts.

"Just being aggressive, I've minimized my walks," Shields said about what's been key to his recent success. "I've stayed in the strike zone for the most part. My deep counts have gone down and I'm getting ahead of hitters. If I can just stay aggressive and utilize all my pitches, I think I'll be good."

Shields is 5-3 lifetime against the Angels with a 3.01 ERA in 11 starts.

In Thursday's opener, Price pitched seven scoreless innings for his major league-leading 16th win, and Tampa continued its amazing shutout streak of the Angels in a 7-0 victory.

The Rays have blanked the Angels the last 32 innings. Tampa Bay shut out the Angels in the final two contests of a series late July in Anaheim and has won nine of the last 10 meetings.

Price (16-4) continued his spectacular pitching by allowing three hits and striking out eight batters to win his franchise-record eighth straight decision.

"When we score early it makes it easier on pitchers," Price said. "I've been throwing the ball well over the past couple of games. I threw whatever the situation called for. We're playing extremely well right now."

Ben Zobrist, B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria homered for the Rays, who snapped a two-game skid and won for the eighth time in the last 10 contests overall.

Dan Haren (8-10) was touched for seven hits and five runs over 3 2/3 innings, as the Angels lost for the fourth time in six games.

"The ball wasn't coming out of Dan's hand like it should have," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Dan needs to command the ball better."

Tampa is 6-1 against the Angels this season.

08/17 10:48:50 ET