For the first half of the season, the specter of the Tampa Bay Rays' lone visit to Anaheim to face the Los Angeles Angels in mid-August offered the possibility of some of the best players in the game opposing one another.
Both teams were off Thursday after winning the finale of a three-game road series Wednesday.
Aaron Civale tossed six scoreless innings and earned the win for the Rays, who beat the San Francisco Giants 6-1 in the deciding game of the set. Reid Detmers carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning for the Angels, who avoided being swept by the Texas Rangers with a 2-0 victory.
The win over the Giants capped an eventful few days for the American League wild card-leading Rays, who headed west late Sunday without shortstop Wander Franco. The All-Star, who is hitting .281 with 17 homers and 58 RBIs, and ranks third in the AL with 30 stolen bases, was placed on the restricted list while MLB investigates allegations on social media that Franco is involved in an inappropriate relationship.
Franco will be on the restricted list for at least the remainder of the six-game road trip, as ESPN reported Thursday that authorities in Franco's native Dominican Republic are conducting their own investigation.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Rays learned that staff ace Shane McClanahan would require the second Tommy John surgery of his career. The left-handed McClanahan, who was 11-2 with a 3.29 ERA before exiting his start Aug. 2 with forearm tightness, is expected to miss all of the 2024 season.
"Our 26-man active roster is not the one we started the season with and that's how it goes," Rays baseball operations president Erik Neander told the Tampa Bay Times earlier this week. "I think over time, players learn to control the things they can control and keep their attention where it needs to be."
Among the Angels' generational talents, only Shohei Ohtani will be playing over the weekend - and he will be limited to designated-hitter duties while superstar center fielder Mike Trout continues to recover from a left hamate fracture.
Ohtani has been the runaway AL MVP favorite by hitting .306 with a league-leading 42 homers while also going 10-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 22 starts on the mound. But he isn't expected to pitch again until Wednesday against the Cincinnati Reds. He has been limited to 10 innings over two starts this month while battling cramping and fatigue in each outing.
"He assured me there's no pain, there's no injury," Angels manager Phil Nevin said. "He's got some regular arm fatigue that some go through at times. I trust him when he tells me this and he'll be ready for his next time out."
Trout, who was injured July 3, could begin facing pitchers this week.
Ramirez gave up two runs for the Rays in an inning of relief in Tuesday's 7-0 loss to the Giants. He hasn't started since Aug. 6, when he allowed one run over three innings and didn't factor into the decision in the Rays' 10-6 win over the Detroit Tigers.
Ramirez is 4-2 with a 2.53 ERA in 16 career games (nine starts) against the Angels.
Anderson took the loss last Saturday, when he gave up seven runs over 4 2/3 innings as the Angels fell to the Houston Astros 11-3. He won his lone start against the Rays on July 18, 2016, when he allowed four runs over 6 1/3 innings in the Colorado Rockies' 7-4 victory.
—Field Level Media