The Rays couldn’t manage so much as a hit or a walk Wednesday in Felix Hernandez’s perfect game, but look at what they did to the Angels’ starters in four games since:
Dan Haren: 3 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER
Jered Weaver: 3 IP, 8 H, 9 ER
C.J. Wilson: 4 2/3 IP, 6 H, 7 ER
Zack Greinke: 6 IP, 7 H, 6 ER
That’s a combined $50.25 million worth of starting pitching, and the Rays just ate them alive on their way to sweeping a four-game series in Anaheim. They won 8-3 on Sunday and outscored the Angels a combined 37-14 in the four games.
The Rays now have the AL’s third-best record at 67-54, while the Angels have slipped to two games over .500 at 62-60. They’re not only nine games behind the Rangers, but they’re now four games back of the A’s for second place in the AL West.
Greinke has been a bust of an acquisition through five starts, going 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA. The Angels gave up three prospects to get him from Milwaukee last month, but they currently find themselves with the eighth-best record in the AL and they don’t stand to gain any compensation if he leaves as a free agent this winter.
The Rays, on the other hand, appear to be in fine position, particularly with Matt Moore having come on so strong. Moore was the winner today after allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his last seven starts. He’s gone from 5-6 with a 4.42 ERA to 10-7 with a 3.57 ERA during that span.
Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?
Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.
Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.