Series Preview: Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels
The Boston Red Sox just wrapped up a four game set with the Houston Astros and welcomed the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to town for four games, a week after finishing off a west coast swing at their place. Here is a breakdown of the upcoming series and what viewers can expect.
Probable Pitching Match-ups:
Monday Game 1: Brandon Workman (1-6, 4.45 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (9-8, 4.71 ERA)
Tuesday Game 2: Allen Webster (3-1, 4.79 ERA) vs. Jared Weaver (14-7, 3.66)
Wednesday Game 3: Clay Buchholz (5-7, 5.79 ERA) vs. Garrett Richards (13-4, 2.53 ERA)
Thursday Game 4: Rubby De La Rosa (4-4, 3.79 ERA) vs. Matt Shoemaker (11-4, 3.84 ERA)
For Boston, this game is about continuing to build on the momentum from their trade deadline moves. They are 8-7 since then and have looked much more competitive in games, particularly against potential playoff teams like the Angels and Cincinnati Reds. They took two-of-three against Los Angeles a little over a week ago and were a 19 inning walk-off home run loss away from making it a sweep. I expect that success to continue against the Angels in this series that presents identical pitching match-ups as last week and a Red Sox offense that has put up 23 runs in the last four games.
Daniel Nava has been a big part of the offensive success with a .500 batting average (9-for-18) over the last five games. Dustin Pedroia has been another spark for this offense as well with a hit in 13 of the last 16 games and a .358 average over that span. Although Pedey got out to a slow start this year, he is beginning to look like himself again. Unfortunately, it’s too little too late for the Red Sox who are well out of playoff contention.
This is a crucial series for the Angels who are tied for first in the American League West with the Oakland Athletics, and have won four of their last five games. They were three outs away from making it a perfect 5-0 coming into today, but closer Huston Street blew a save last night against a division rival, the Texas Rangers, to lose 3-2. A successful week overall though has propelled them into the top spot on many MLB Power Rankings.
Part of their success can be contributed to outfielder Kole Calhoun, who is batting .409 over the last seven games with two home runs and eight RBI’s. On the flip side both Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout are slumping, which works in Boston’s favor entering this series. Together the pair has combined to go 12-for-82 (.146) and have recorded just three extra base hits in the club’s last 11 games. Trout did go 4-for-14 with two home runs against the Red Sox in their three game set a little over a week ago, so he could certainly look to turn in around. Hamilton, on the other hand, was basically a no show in that series going just 1-for-11. I think Boston will keep his bat in check.
The most intriguing pitching match-up to me is game three with Buchholz facing off against Richards. Richards has been a diamond in the rough for the Angels this year with an impressive 2.53 ERA. When the two faced off on Aug. 9 it was a pitchers duel that went 19 innings, ending on a walk off home run by Albert Pujols. Richards went six and a third, allowing three runs, two unearned, while Buchholz went eight innings allowing three runs and striking out eight. Richards took a no hitter into the seventh prior to a Pedroia single that started the scoring for Boston. Buchholz had struggled in his previous two starts in which he allowed seven runs in both, but his start against the Angels was a solid bounce back effort. He continued to command the ball well on Saturday in a no decision start against Houston. If this match-up is anything like the one we saw a week ago, it will be another terrific game.
All things considered, I like Boston taking three-of-four in the series. I’m optimistic they will get solid starts from each of their starting pitchers and that the bats will stay hot to propel the Red Sox to a series win.
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