Jerome Williams gets his third crack at an American League East team after previous starts against the Yankees and Orioles. The latter was a better outing, albeit a no-decision, one in which he allowed three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings with six strikeouts and one walk. That performance followed a brief showing in New York, where the Yankees roughed him up for five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.
Williams gets his first look at the Rays since 2004, when, as a member of the Giants, he allowed one run over seven innings. Though that start may feel as if it came during another baseball lifetime, Williams contends the approach is the same.
"That's all it is, just not worrying about anything else and just pitch my game. And that's my game -- attack the strike zone," Williams said.
Likewise, Matt Moore aims to build off a positive outing. The young left-hander allowed three earned runs over 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Twins on April 20. Overall, Moore has been up and down so far this season, pitching to an 0-1 record and a 5.12 ERA.
"The timing and everything, a couple of things that were off when I needed to get a couple of strikes in a row," Moore said. "It's a matter of a bunch of little things. I'm kind of getting that feeling back where everything is coming out nice and easy. Similar arm slot, whereas sometimes I felt like I was fighting a little bit through my delivery. The last three or four days have been really good."
Moore admitted he's already tinkered with a few adjustments early in the season, something he did not anticipate during Spring Training.
"It's an adjustment just getting back to where I'm comfortable through my delivery. So just a few things here and there. The games are the big thing telling me where I need some room to work on or if things are going to be OK that day," Moore said.
Angels: Halos lacking extra dimension
Stolen bases have been a trademark of Mike Scioscia teams throughout his tenure as Angels manager. However, that dynamic simply hasn't been there in 2012. The Angels have tallied only nine steals through their first 18 games, and were 0-for-2 on Wednesday. A more power-laden lineup is certainly a factor in the decreased thievery, but Scioscia doesn't believe the element has vanished.
"Sometimes the matchups aren't there. It's nothing you can really force ... but if the matchups are there, you're going to try to take advantage of them." Scioscia said. "I think we have team speed, which we can try to create in some situations. And I think we're going to steal our share of bases."
Rays: Longo loves facing the Angels
Evan Longoria may be sad to see the Angels leave town. The third baseman owns a career .320 average with six home runs, 18 RBIs and 10 doubles against them. It is his second-highest average against a team he's faced at least six times, trailing his .330 mark against the Royals. However, his 0-for-2 night on Wednesday did snap a seven-game hitting streak during which he collected 10 hits, two home runs and eight RBIs.
The Rays' 212-120 home record from 2008-12 is the second-best in the Majors during that span.
Scioscia is the only active manager with at least 1,000 victories with one club (1,072-889).