July 5 7:05pm, July 6 7:05pm, July 7 5:05pm
Finally the Angels have pulled within reasonable distance of both the American League Wild Card and the American League West. While the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics both have decent leads, the Angels have gained ground. Now to finish the week, they'll be playing the Boston Red Sox, who now lead the American League East.
Felix Doubront, Ryan Dempster, and John Lackey are on the hill for the BoSox. The two latter are the team's leaders in strikeouts and ERA, respectively. Since returning from Tommy John surgery and other minor injuries, John Lackey has pitched well. They've won four of Lackey's last five starts and Lackey has only allowed more than two runs once in each of those. Dempster, who signed a two-year $26.5M deal in the offseason, has really underperformed. He's allowed the second most runs on the team and has allowed a ton of home runs. John Farrell surely wants his pitchers to bring their best stuff against an Angels lineup that has been hot as of late.
Leading the team in home runs, runs batted in, and on-base percentage is David Ortiz who also has a two-year deal worth more than twenty-million dollars. And yes, he is going to be thirty-eight years old. That kind of production is astounding. Last time against the Halos, Ortiz beat up the Angels -- garnering two home runs and six RBI. Surely he'll be seeking to do it again. Scott Downs, are you ready to escape some more jams? Dustin Pedroia also leads the Red Sox. Fighting through a thumb injury, the second baseman leads the team in batting average and heats, taking advantage of the warm weather to nurse the his thumb.
Last time these two teams played in the beginning of June and the Angels were outscored by the Red Sox combined twenty-two runs. Now Mike Scioscia will urgently need his core (Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, and Mark Trumbo) to perform because this series is yet another test of the Angels talent to make the playoffs or even the Wild Card playoff.
TV Schedule: First and second games will be on FOX Sports West and NESN while the third will be on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.
Hope you enjoyed the Fourth and July! And here is to a great weekend. Go Halos!