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Angels @ Red Sox (the Monster in the room)

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Don't forget the early 10:35AM game on Sunday as Angels look for success in Boston this weekend

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The melancholy song by Augustana croons "I think I'm going to Boston, I think I'll start a new life, I think I'll start it over."  I'm sure the Angels wish they could start over as they look for some sort of shot to the system after posting their worst June record in 36 years.  The elephant/monster in the room that no one on the club is publicly talking about is - that this seasons is lost, yet the Angels org is still talking as if they can be competitive this year.  Lip service or delusions?  We'll know in the next 2-4 weeks. Now the Angels get to face the literal (green) monster as they head to Fenway to start a 9 game road trip leading up to the All-Star break.

Theoretically, pull hitters like Albert Pujols, Jefry Marte, and Mike Trout may benefit from hits off the Green Monster.  In fact, Mike Trout has a .373 AVG with 6 doubles in 59 AB at Fenway.

While the Angels have lost 9 of their last 10, the Red Sox are only 1 for their last 5.  Staring pitching has been an issue for them but if history tells us anything, it's that the Angels are often a springboard for struggling teams and pitchers.

Over the last two weeks, the Angels have scored the fewest (47) runs in the American League, which is exactly half of what the league leading Orioles have scored.  The Red Sox haven't fared much better at 57.  The Angels are also 12th in OBP over the past two weeks (.312), and the Red Sox are 6th at .341. In the past few weeks, the Angels also have the worst percentage of hard hit balls, while the Red Sox sit in third place.

Pitching certainly hasn't fared much better for the Halos who have the 2nd worst ERA and K count over the past month, trailing only the hapless Twins.  The Angels certainly have their work cut out for them heading into their first series of this East Coast road trip.

Biggest question(s): Did the "closed door" meeting do any good?

Game 1

Jhoulys Chacin vs. Steven Wright
Monday, July 1st, 2016 @ 4:10PM

Chacin is still around while Tropeano pitches his heart out in Salt Lake

Steven Wright v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB HR K% BAA FIP
27 2 13.3 .185 7.00
Jhoulys Chacin v. Red Sox Current Roster (Career)
AB HR K% BAA FIP
37 1 15.6 .216 5.70
Players/Stats to watch:
Mike Trout & Albert Pujols v. Steven Wright (last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
10 3 3 2 .300
Knuckleballer Steve Wright is sitting on a 2.18 ERA this year and has not allowed any runs in 3 of his last 5 starts, including a complete game against the White Sox.  He had the worst outing of his season his last time on the mound when he let up 8 runs (3 of them earned) in only 4.2 IP.  Wright is pretty good at inducing double plays which doesn't bode well for the Halos who happen to be really good at hitting into them.
Jhoulys Chacin is living on borrowed time and trying to prove himself in hitter-friendly Fenway Park is not the best thing that could happen to him.  Chacin has gone a combined 6.2 innings his last two starts and has given up 21 runs in his last 22 innings pitched.  You often get what you pay for.
VERDICT: Wright has been great this season and Chacin not so much.  This game probably goes to the Red Sox unless Angels hitters come out strong and quick.

Game 2
Hector Santiago vs. Clay Buchholz
Tuesday, July 2nd, 2016 @ 4:15PM

Santiago has lots of tattoos.  Fact.  There, I said something good about him!

Clay Buchholz v. Angels Current roster (career)
AB HR K% BAA FIP
68 4 7.8 .308 4.20
Hector Santiago v. Red Sox Current Roster (career)
AB HR K% BAA FIP
52 2 22.4 .279 7.18
Players/Stats to watch:
Albert Pujols v. Clay Buchholz (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
15 6 4 1 .400
Mike Trout v. Clay Buchholz (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
16 6 4 2 .375
Xander Bogaerts v. Hector Santaigo (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
8 5 0 0 .625
Dustin Pedroia v. Hector Santiago (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
11 4 1 0 .364
Hector Santiago is having a rough 2016.  He's had some flashes of brilliance, but some huge turds of a game as well.  Against Oakland last week, he gave up 6 runs in 6 IP, along with 2 HRs and 4 walks.  Santiago faced Boston twice last year. He lost in the first go-round despite giving up only 3 runs over 6.2 innings.  Last July, he struck out 10 Red Sox players, gave up only 1 run, and only lasted 5 innings since he had thrown 114 pitches.  In 13.1 career innings at Fenway, he has a 6.08 ERA.
The last time Buchholz faced the Angels, Josh Hamilton, Erick Aybar, David Freese, Howie Kendrick, Chris Iannetta and Efren Navarro were in the starting lineup.  That was 2014, and a lot has changed since then.  This year, Buchholz has been having a rough time to the tune of a 5.90 ERA.   Just recently, Buchholz was used out of the pen for 3 games, but he has started his last 2 games.  In those two games he's pitched 10.1 innings and given up 7ER, 6 walks, and 3 home runs.
VERDICT: Assuming we don't have a Santiago meltdown, the Angels have a pretty good shot at winning this one.  Buchholz has given up a lot of home runs this year, and our version of the bash brothers have taken him deep before.

Game 3
Matt Shoemaker vs. TBD
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016 @ 10:35AM

It would have been Eduardo Rodriguez's turn to pitched but he was sent to AAA on Tuesday.

Matt Shoemaker v. Astros Current Roster (career)
AB H K% BAA ERA
24 1 33 0.42 0.00

Matt Shoemaker last faced the Red Sox in 2014 when he dominated them in a start plus a relief stint.  He threw 10.2 innings and only allowed 1 hit while striking out 13.  Shoemaker has faced 9 different players on the Red Sox current roster and only Chris Young has a hit off him (a double), and Young is currently on the DL.  Shoemaker looks to continue his surge as he has now put together a string of 8 great starts (7 of them considered "quality"), despite getting losses in 5 of them.  Can he get a little run support guys??  Shoemaker has only pitched once at Fenway Park and it was 7.2 shoutout innings with 9Ks.
VERDICT: Assuming Shoemaker can get some run support, he should get the win.  However, he had a 2.14 ERA in June and didn't post a single win.
OVERALL VERDICT: Angels actually have a shot at winning this series, but only if there is no Santiago meltdown and Shoemaker gets some run support.  Games 2 & 3 are the best shots at a win.