Whether it's a team fighting for a spot in October or a player putting the finishing touches on a resume that he hopes will earn postseason accolades, late-season games tend to come with a bit more intensity.
While the Angels are playing for pride, the Rays have a lot on the line as they are leading the American League Wild Card race and in a battle with Boston for the AL East.
As the team looks to stay in the hunt, starter Chris Archer will be looking to keep his name in the AL Rookie of the Year conversation.
Archer has struggled with consistency in August, but he was undoubtedly paying attention to the way Roberto Hernandez attacked the Angels on Tuesday. Hernandez gave up three runs over six innings in the Rays' eventual 6-5 loss.
"I always learn from watching Roberto pitch, even though we're a little different," Archer said. "I can take a lot from how he attacks batters. Sometimes I'll look into the dugout and smile while I'm on the mound, because I'll execute a pitch exactly how the staff told me to and I'll get the outcome they told me. I can rely on that."
Archer has never faced the Angels, but he knows they are more talented than their record suggests.
"They're very capable of putting up five or six runs per game," Archer said. "They may not be having the greatest of seasons, but they're fully capable of producing runs. We have to be smart. This next month is crucial for us. As much as we rely on pitching and defense, we have to step it up."
Garrett Richards, who has a 2.75 ERA in his last six starts, will get the start for the Angels.
"I've learned different things as I've gone along," Richards said recently. "And I'm starting to put stuff together and feeling more comfortable in my delivery, more consistent, which is something I've really been working toward."
Angels: Mixed emotions for Hamilton
The Angels spent Monday's off-day in Florida, and after Josh Hamilton took his family fishing off the Gulf of Mexico, he stopped by Jack Russell Memorial Stadium -- home of "The Winning Inning Baseball Academy."
Florida brings mixed emotions for Hamilton, as it is where his drug addiction began. It also brings back the memories from the Academy where the slugger got his life back on track.
"Just having the opportunity for God to put me in a place and put me in a relationship with two guys that love the game that I love, and understand life and that things happen," Hamilton said. "It just brings back those memories of where I was and the place in my life where I was still struggling."
Roy Silver and Randy Holland run the facility, and for two months in 2006 provided Hamilton the structure he needed to get back into baseball.
• Arizona Fall League rosters were announced Tuesday, and eight members of the Angels organization were listed.
Pitchers R.J. Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Mike Morin and Michael Roth, catcher Jett Bandy, infielders C.J. Cron and Taylor Lindsey, and outfielder Zach Borenstein will join prospects from the A's, Cubs, Nationals and Tigers on the Mesa Solar Sox.
Rays: Hellickson optioned to rest up
Jeremy Hellickson has been struggling and on Tuesday the pitcher was optioned to Class A Advanced Charlotte.
"He's well, physically, but we just thought that giving him a break would be really important right now," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Obviously, the more recent performances have not been great. And the fact that he is not injured, we thought the next-best thing to do would be to give him a break. And so we did that. ... He'll be ready to come back the first part of September."
After beginning the season 10-4, Hellickson is 10-8 with a 5.21 ERA.
• Eight members of the Rays organization will participate in the Arizona Fall League.
When the rosters were released on Tuesday, left-hander Mike Montgomery and infielder Richie Shaffer -- the Rays' No. 8 and No. 9 prospects according to MLB.com -- were listed.
• When Archer has pitched six or more innings in a start, the Rays are 9-1. When he hasn't lasted six innings, Tampa Bay is just 1-5.