East Meets West: The Rays Vs. Angels Rivalry

Kevin Smith

angels vs rays

The Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels, two teams from opposite coasts of the United States, have clashed six times in the 2023 MLB season, with the Rays emerging as the dominant force.

Their most recent encounter on August 20th was a testament to the Rays’ prowess, as they trounced the Angels 18-4 in a dazzling display of offensive firepower.

This ongoing season series has seen the Rays’ powerful hitting and solid pitching taking center stage, while the Angels have struggled to contain their relentless onslaught.

The Rays are vying for another division title and World Series appearance, while the Angels seek to break their playoff dry spell with their star-studded lineup featuring Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.

History: Tampa Bay Rays Vs Los Angeles Angels

Franchise Origins

  • Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays were established in 1998 as an expansion team in Major League Baseball (MLB). They were originally known as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays before dropping “Devil” from their name in 2008.

  • Los Angeles Angels: The Angels, originally based in Los Angeles, were one of the original American League franchises when the league was established in 1901.

    They have undergone several name changes, including the “Los Angeles Angels,” “California Angels,” and “Anaheim Angels” before settling on the “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.


  • Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays have won two American League (AL) pennants, in 2008 and 2020. They reached the World Series in both of those years but have yet to secure an MLB championship.

  • Los Angeles Angels: The Angels have won one World Series championship in their history, which came in 2002. Led by manager Mike Scioscia and star player Troy Glaus, they defeated the San Francisco Giants in a memorable seven-game series.

Postseason Appearances

  • Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays have made several postseason appearances since their establishment in 1998, with notable runs in 2008, 2020, and other years.

    They have consistently been competitive in the AL East.

  • Los Angeles Angels: The Angels have a more extensive postseason history due to their longer tenure in the league. They have made numerous playoff appearances, particularly in the 2000s, but have not been as successful in recent years.

Notable Players

  • Tampa Bay Rays: Some of the notable players in Rays’ history include Evan Longoria, David Price, Carl Crawford, and Blake Snell.

  • Los Angeles Angels: The Angels have had legendary players like Mike Trout, Vladimir Guerrero, Tim Salmon, Nolan Ryan, and Rod Carew pass through their ranks.


  • Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays play their home games at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. They have faced challenges with attendance and have been involved in discussions about a new stadium for years. Their fanbase is passionate but has often been criticized for not consistently filling the stadium.

  • Los Angeles Angels: The Angels play at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. They have a dedicated fanbase in Southern California and have enjoyed better attendance figures compared to the Rays.

Fanbase: Tampa Bay Rays Vs Los Angeles Angels

Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays boast a passionate but relatively modest fanbase. Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the team has faced challenges with attendance due to the dated Tropicana Field and competition with other Florida sports teams.

However, their dedicated fans, known as the “Rays Republic,” have stuck by the team through thick and thin. Rays supporters appreciate the team’s underdog status and have celebrated the Rays’ remarkable success, especially during their 2008 World Series run and recent postseason appearances.

Despite attendance struggles, the Rays’ fanbase remains fiercely loyal, making their presence known during key games.

Los Angeles Angels

The Los Angeles Angels enjoy a robust and passionate fanbase, largely drawn from the diverse and populous Southern California region. With a storied history and the presence of baseball legends like Mike Trout, the “Halo Nation” has a strong and vocal presence at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

Angels fans are known for their loyalty and enthusiasm, creating an electric atmosphere during home games. The team’s 2002 World Series win cemented its place in the hearts of Southern Californians, and the fanbase continues to support the Angels through their ups and downs, making them one of the more prominent fan communities in Major League Baseball.

Iconic Moments: Tampa Bay Rays Vs Los Angeles Angels Rivalry

They have had their share of memorable encounters. Here are a few notable moments from their rivalry:

2008 Alds Comeback

In the 2008 American League Division Series, the Rays and Angels squared off in a dramatic five-game series. One of the most iconic moments came in Game 2 when the Rays, down 5-0 in the 7th inning, staged an incredible comeback to win 9-8. This victory played a pivotal role in the Rays’ run to their first-ever World Series appearance.

Mike Trout Vs. Blake Snell

The matchup between the Angels’ superstar outfielder Mike Trout and the Rays’ former ace Blake Snell has been a highlight of recent meetings between the two teams.

Trout, widely regarded as one of the best players in the game, and Snell, a former Cy Young Award winner, have provided intense battles on the field, showcasing the clash between elite hitting and elite pitching.

No-hitter by Jered Weaver

In May 2012, Angels pitcher Jered Weaver etched his name into the history books by throwing a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins. While not against the Rays specifically, Weaver’s dominant performance remains a memorable moment in the larger context of the Angels’ history, including their matchups with the Rays.

Epic Pitchers’ Duel

In 2014, the Rays and Angels engaged in a memorable pitchers’ duel between Alex Cobb of the Rays and Garrett Richards of the Angels. The game went into extra innings, and it wasn’t until the 10th inning that the Rays finally secured a 2-1 victory. The duel highlighted the skill and competitiveness of both teams’ pitching staffs.

Walk-off Wins

Walk-off victories are always memorable, and the Rays and Angels have provided their fair share. These clutch moments, whether through game-winning hits or home runs, have added drama and excitement to their matchups over the years.

Future Outlook: Tampa Bay Rays Vs Los Angeles Angels

Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays have consistently demonstrated their ability to compete despite budget constraints. With a strong farm system and smart front office decisions, they remain a playoff contender.

The future looks promising with young talents like Wander Franco and a deep pitching rotation. However, stadium issues continue to pose challenges, possibly impacting the team’s sustainability in Tampa.

Regardless, their innovative strategies and player development suggest a continued competitive presence in the American League East. The Rays will strive to convert regular-season success into World Series championships, building on their reputation as one of MLB’s most resourceful franchises.

Los Angeles Angels

The Los Angeles Angels’ future centers on the generational talent of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. While Trout remains one of the game’s best, Ohtani’s two-way skills have added a unique dimension.

The team’s success depends on surrounding them with quality pitching and supporting players. With improved management and recruitment, the Angels aim to contend in the competitive AL West.

However, pitching woes have historically plagued the franchise. Developing a stronger rotation and bullpen will be essential. In a highly competitive division, the Angels’ future success hinges on maximizing the abilities of their superstar duo and addressing pitching deficiencies.

Tampa Bay Rays Vs Los Angeles Angels Rivalry

2022May 13Tropicana FieldLos Angeles3-1
2022May 14Tropicana FieldTampa Bay3-2
2021August 1Angel StadiumTampa Bay7-3
2021August 2Angel StadiumTampa Bay6-5
2020August 5Tropicana FieldTampa Bay5-3
2020August 6Tropicana FieldTampa Bay6-5 (10)
2019June 14Angel StadiumTampa Bay9-4
2019June 15Angel StadiumLos Angeles5-3
2018August 2Tropicana FieldTampa Bay7-2
2018August 3Tropicana FieldTampa Bay10-6
2017June 15Angel StadiumLos Angeles4-0
2017June 16Angel StadiumTampa Bay3-1
2016May 9Tropicana FieldTampa Bay5-2
2016May 10Tropicana FieldTampa Bay4-2
2015June 10Angel StadiumLos Angeles5-3
2015June 11Angel StadiumTampa Bay6-1
2014May 15Tropicana FieldTampa Bay5-2
2014May 16Tropicana FieldLos Angeles3-0
2013July 30Angel StadiumLos Angeles6-5
2013July 31Angel StadiumLos Angeles1-0 (13)


When did the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels first face each other in MLB?

The Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels first faced each other in MLB during the Rays’ inaugural season in 1998.

Have the Rays and Angels ever met in the playoffs?

Yes, they met in the 2008 American League Division Series (ALDS), which the Rays won on their way to the World Series.

Who are some notable players from both teams in this rivalry?

Notable players include Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani for the Angels and Evan Longoria and Blake Snell for the Rays.

Which team has historically had the upper hand in this rivalry?

Historically, the Rays have had more success against the Angels, but it can vary from season to season.

Where do the Rays and Angels play their home games?

The Rays play at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, while the Angels play at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.

To Recap

The Tampa Bay Rays have asserted their dominance over the Los Angeles Angels in their recent matchups, showcasing their potent offense and solid pitching.

Their most recent 18-4 victory underlined their ability to explode with runs and power-hitting, leaving the Angels struggling to keep pace. This season series has highlighted the Rays’ capability to outscore their opponents significantly, with a remarkable 48-18 run differential and impressive home run and extra-base hit statistics.

As the Rays march toward their third consecutive division title and a potential return to the World Series, their strong performance against the Angels serves as a testament to their championship aspirations.

Meanwhile, the Angels, despite their star power, face an uphill battle in the competitive AL West, as they seek to end their playoff drought and make an impact in the postseason.

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Kevin Smith

I am a dedicated learner who is constantly pursuing my dreams in many areas of life. I am a Finance major at the University of Maryland, a professional baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays and the owner of my personal brand, Elevate Baseball. I hope to inspire younger learners of all sports and interests to tirelessly pursue their dreams, whatever that may be. LinkedIn