Evan Longoria has cooled off after a hot start this season.
The Tampa Bay Rays hold the second Wild Card in the American League as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are trying to complete another disappointing season. The teams meet tonight in the second game of a Wednesday Night Baseball doubleheader (10 ET on ESPN/WatchESPN).
Here are five stats the broadcast crew will be talking about during the game:
1. The Rays won last night to end a five-game losing streak. Overall they have dropped eight of 10 to let the Yankees and Orioles back into the Wild Card race.
Headed into Wednesday, Coolstandings.com simulations powered by Fangraphs.com projections still pegged the Rays with a 73% chance to make the playoffs, ahead of the Indians (17%), Yankees (15%) and Orioles (7%).
2. Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson returns to the rotation for his 28th start of the season after being sent down to the minors earlier this summer. He is 2-1 with a 2.29 ERA in four career appearances against the Angels. Hellickson has seen his ERA rise in consecutive seasons, from 2.95 in 2011 all the way up to 5.21 this season.
3. Evan Longoria started the year batting .307/.366/.569 (.935 OPS) in his first 75 games with 17 HR and 47 RBI, on pace for an MVP-caliber season.
Since then, he’s batted .217/.317/.429 (.746 OPS) in his last 60 games and that includes an 11-game outburst over which he went 17-43 with 6 home runs between August 14-25. Longoria has gone just 4-for-34 since that brief hot stretch.
4. Mike Trout is tough to keep off the bases. In 67 games since June 14, he’s batted .378, with a .498 OBP and .602 slugging percentage. Trout has increased his OBP in each month this season, including a .692 mark so far in September.
To give you an idea of Trout’s complete skill set, he ranks in the top three in the American League in batting average, OPS, triples, walks and runs scored this season.
Mike Trout On-Base Percentage
By Month This Season
5. Angels starter Jered Weaver has performed well atop an inconsistent starting rotation. The top of the rotation (Weaver, C.J. Wilson & Jason Vargas) have been very effective when healthy (in Weaver & Vargas’ cases).
The rest of the Angels rotation and fill-ins have struggled. The Weaver/Wilson/Vargas trio is 31-19 with a 3.46 ERA this season while the rest of the Angels starting rotation is a combined 15-32 with a 5.40 ERA.