Angels Preview: Cubs, Red Sox

The Face of Hope - Stephen Dunn

Well, the win streak is over so it's back to work. A fresh week will start with the end of the Houston Astros series followed by a short two game set against the Chicago Cubs. Then the Halos head out to play in Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox.

Cubs at Angels (June 4 7:05pm, June 5 4:05pm)

On Tuesday, Anthony Rizzo and the Cubs will come into Anaheim and the series will start off with a great pitching matchup. Jered Weaver, coming off a dominant start last Wednesday against the Dodgers, will go up against Scott Feldman. Yes, Scott Feldman. Off the bat, it does not sound like a good matchup, but Feldman has been good for the Cubs. He is posting a 2.84 ERA with an opponent batting average of .229 which has earned him five wins. The Angels do have experience against Feldman because of his days with the Texas Rangers; therefore, could we see Josh Hamilton put a few in the porch?

After Feldman takes the hill, Matt Garza and Jason Vargas go at it. Seeing Vargas take the hill is excellent because he has definitely found his "groove." The Halos have won the last six times he has started a game. As for Garza, he's made just three starts this season due to injury and, like Feldman, is probably going to be on the Cubs trading in July.

The Cubs hitters do not get much better. Alfonso Soriano has yet to perform to his contract (six years later) and Starlin Castro has done the same (save for the albatross of a deal). And just like the two previously mentioned Chicago hitters, Anthony Rizzo has been doing just the same! And like Soriano, he too signed a deal! But his is much easier to digest. I don't see what issues Weaver or Vargas should have with these guys.

Projected Starting Pitchers -- Feldman/Weaver, Garza/Vargas

Angels at Red Sox (June 7 4:10pm, June 8 4:15pm, June 9 10:35am)

There is just something about the Red Sox that has always bothered me. Probably the fact that they took us out of the playoffs in 2004, 2007, and 2008. I have the same feeling for the Yankees as well (and I'm right over the Hudson, in New Jersey). I can barely speak about the 2009 ALCS without becoming very angry. Anyways, back to this series!

The Red Sox have completely turned it around from last season. They dumped Bobby Valentine for John Farrell. They dumped Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett for cash freedom. And they dumped kept John Lackey for our viewing pleasure. The Red Sox offense has been explosive. They lead in runs scored and every batter has been doing their part. David Ortiz has returned with a vengeance while Dustin Pedroia has been astounding (even while playing with a thumb injury that he's keeping under wraps). And Mike Napoli is still doing everything he never did for the Angels.

The Red Sox pitching has been just as good as their hitting. Clay Buchholz, Bullfrog Suncreen aside, is leading the team in wins (7), ERA (1.73), and strikeouts (73). Jon Lester, too, has been on-track to return to prime form and Felix Doubront has been contributing. Ryan Dempster on the other hand, has not. It'll be interesting to see how the Red Sox pitching handles the Angels as we've seen the Halos can go from scoring to being shutout in just one game.

Projected Starting Pitchers -- TBD/TBD, TBD/TBD, TBD/TBD

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