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Series Preview: Red Sox @ Angels (Does Big Papi surf?)

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The Big Papi farewell tour is coming to Anaheim for 4 games

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Remember when the Angels gave Derek Jeter a sufboard on his farewell tour?  Well, now it's David Ortiz's turn and teams have been giving the cheater gifts as he makes the finals rounds to each field. Who says cheaters never prosper? Houston gave him a cowboy hat, San Francisco gave him a bell from a cable car, and Atlanta gave him a framed picture of Ted Turner (actually not - they gave him a video on the scoreboard which isn't much better).  Will the Angels repeat the gift theme and give Big Papi a surfboard? Jeter's board had pinstripes, so will Big Papi get an HGH branded ride?  Time will tell...

Aside from the Big Papi story, the OTHER big story is the trade deadline which happens August 1st.  It's been a pretty quiet trade deadline in general, but so quiet for the Angels, you could hear a pin drop.  Is Eppler wheeling and dealing behind the scenes or holding steady with the status quo?

The Angels faced the Red Sox in early July, and lost the series, but began their recent offensive dominance when they crushed and embarrassed the Red Sox in Fenway by beating them 21-2.  In 2014, and 2015, the Angels beat the Red Sox 5 games to 2 (each year) and swept them in 4 games at home in Boston in 2014, followed by a 4 game sweep of them in Anaheim in 2015.

During the month of July, no one has scored more runs (126) than the Red Sox, unless your team is the Angels, who have scored 140 runs.  The Red Sox are also playing some great ball and have out hit the Angels in July with a .302 average compared to the Angels lowly .296 in second place.  The Angels and Red Sox have both won 13 games in July, and the Angels pitching staff has bested the Red Sox in ERA with a 3.86 compared to a 4.64 for the Red Sox which placed them 25 out of 30 teams.  The Red Sox picked up Drew Pomeranz to help shore up their pitching for a playoff run and he will face the Angels on Saturday.

Biggest question: Is The Freak DOA?

Game 1

Jered Weaver vs. David Price
Thursday, July 28th, 2016 @ 7:05PM

Battle of the "Aces"?

Jered Weaver v. Red Sox Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
94 19 .202 21.0 2 3.56
David Price v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
102 19 .186 27.7 4 3.71
Players/Stats to watch:
Albert Pujols & Mike Trout v. David Price (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
33 6 3 2 .181
David Ortiz v. Jered Weaver (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
11 3 1 1 .273
Weaver got rocked for 6 runs in 4 innings against Houston last week.  The good news is that in each of his previous 2 starts he only gave up 1 run.  He hasn't faced the Red Sox since August of 2014 when he gave up 3 runs in 5.1 innings and registered a win.  It's been an up and down year for the Weave, but other that his last outing, he's only had 2 other games where he didn't last at least 5.1 innings.  If nothing else, he's still a good inning eater.
David Price is in the  middle of the worst season of his career.  He has a career high 4.51 ERA but has managed to go 9-7 so far this season.  He's coming off back to back outings against the Yankees and Twins where he lasted 5.2 innings and gave up 11 hits both games, along with 8 total runs.  He's capable of great things still and has pitched very well against the Angels.  Price has 7 double digit K games in 2016 and since April 21, he's only had 1 game where he threw less than 100 pitches.
VERDICT: This matchup has the Red Sox and Price written all over it.  Price has been dominate against the Angels and is coming off back to back bad starts which he's likely to rebound from.
Game 2
Tim Linecum vs. Rick Porcello
Friday, July 29th, 2016 @ 7:05PM
Lincecum is still trying to "figure himself out".

Tim Linecum v. Red Sox Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
73 25 .411 20.5 2 4.01
Rick Porcello v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
87 25 .309 15.8 4 5.18
Players/Stats to watch:
Kole Calhoun v. Rick Porcello (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
8 5 3 2 .625
Albert Pujols v. Rich Porcello (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
19 6 3 1 .316
Aaron Hill v. Tim Lincecum (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
21 10 4 0 .524
There isn't much more to say about Tim Lincecum's horrible year, one in which he is broken and has no clear fix in sight.  Last week against the Astros he only lasted 1.1 innings and gave up 8 runs. Aaron Hill has owned Lincecum over his past 21 at bats.
Rick Porcello hasn't lost a game since May 17th and is coming off 5 straight wins in his last 5 starts.  He hasn't pitched more than 7 innings all year, but he's been very effective with his 13-2 record and 3.57 ERA.  The silver lining here perhaps is that the Angels beat Porcello both times they faced him in 2015.
VERDICT: The way Lincecum has been pitching, the Red Sox have the edge again in this game.

Game 3
Hector Santiago vs. Drew Pomeranz
Saturday, July 30th, 2016 @ 6:05PM

Pom, pom, pom - Pom, Pom-eraz...

Hector Santiago v. Red Sox Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
89 25 .281 20.2 2 3.67
Drew Pomeranz v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
34 7 .206 23.7 2 5.42
Players/Stats to watch:
Xander Bogaerts v. Hector Santiago (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
9 5 0 0 .556
Santiago beat the Red Sox in early July and was the benefactor of a crap ton of Angel runs.  He's only given up 6 runs in July with 31.1 innings pitched (1.74 ERA).  Santiago hasn't lost a game since June 10th and also has 5 straight wins in 5 straight starts.
Drew Pomeranz was one of the few things the Padres had going for them this year before they sent him to Boston.    In his two Red Sox starts, he's thrown 9 innings and allowed 7 runs with 12 hits, 4 walks, and 3 home runs. Pomeranz has a 2.84 ERA this year with 126 Ks in 111 IP.

VERDICT: Pomeranz and Santiago have both been mostly solid lately.  Probably a toss up game that may be low scoring.

Game 4

Tyler Skaggs vs. Steven Wright
Sunday, July 31st, 2016 @ 12:35PM

"I got a new dog. He’s a paranoid retriever. He brings back everything because he’s not sure what I threw him." - Steven Wright

Tyler Skaggs v. Red Sox Current Roster (Career)
AB HR BAA K% FIP
12 1 .250 20.0 8.53
Stevem Wright v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB HR BAA K% FIP
41 2 .268 14.6 6.20
Players/Stats to watch:
Albert Pujols v. Stevem Wright (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
6 3 2 1 .500

Tyler Skaggs came out of the gate strong in his first major league start since 2014.  He threw 7 scoreless innings of 3 hit ball with only 1 walk and he had 5 Ks.  He'll look to continue his revival at home this time around.

Steven Wright gave up 4 runs in his win against the Angels earlier in the month.   He's had a pretty strong season with a 3.12 ERA and a 12-5 record.  Last time he was on the mound, the Tigers beat him up with 8 runs in 4.2 innings.

VERDICT: Skaggs is looking superb and may give the Angels their best shot at a win during this series.

OVERALL VERDICT: Doubtful the Angels can get a series win and will probably be hoping for a split at best.