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Series Preview: Los Angeles Angels vs. Boston Red Sox

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June 26, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels third baseman Jefry Marte (19) celebrates with first baseman C.J. Cron (24), center fielder Mike Trout (27) and second baseman Johnny Giavotella (12) after he hits a sacrifice RBI in the ninth inning to bring in the game winning run against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
June 26, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels third baseman Jefry Marte (19) celebrates with first baseman C.J. Cron (24), center fielder Mike Trout (27) and second baseman Johnny Giavotella (12) after he hits a sacrifice RBI in the ninth inning to bring in the game winning run against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Los Angeles Angels embark on a ten-game three city road trip starting in their personal “House of Horrors” AKA Fenway Park.  Let’s break down this match-up.

The Los Angeles Angels are on the road this weekend to take on the Boston Red Sox, who are 42-36 and in third place in the AL East. The Halos were just swept at home by the Houston Astros and have lost nine of their last 10 games to fall into last place in the AL West. The Red Sox, meanwhile have lost four of their last five and took one game out of three in Tampa Bay earlier this week.

Game 1: Friday, 4:10 p.m. Jhoulys Chacin (2-4, 5.77 ERA) vs. Steven Wright (8-5, 2.18 ERA)

Game 2: Saturday, 4:15 p.m. Hector Santiago (4-4, 5.27 ERA) vs. Clay Buchholz (3-8, 5.90 ERA)

Game 3: Sunday, 10:35 a.m. Matt Shoemaker (3-8, 4.12 ERA) vs. TBA

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Best Pitching Matchup: Friday

Chacin hasn’t been great this year but has had a few random excellent starts, but the real draw here is Wright, a 31-year-old knuckleballer who has come out of nowhere to lead the AL in ERA and complete games. This is his first full season in the big leagues, and he has been one of the best pitchers in the majors this season. His walk rate is 3.4 per nine innings, which is to be expected of a knuckleballer, so if the Angels can be patient they can do some damage.

Three Angels To Watch:

  1. Matt Shoemaker: He’s been tremendous over his last eight starts. His record is just 1-3, but it’s mostly been the offense’s fault or manager Mike Scioscia leaving him in too long. He has a 1.87 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 57.2 innings over that span and opponents are hitting just .234 against him.
  2. Mike Trout: Same old, same old. He’s hitting .323/.422/.574 with 17 home runs and has already matched his total from last season with 11 stolen bases. Over his last eight games he’s hitting .500/.568/.875 with three home runs.
  3. Andrelton Simmons: Simmons’ batting average was at .204 on June 22, but since then he’s hit .300/.344/.400 to bring his average up to .227. His defense is so outstanding that he doesn’t have to hit much to be a valuable player, but hitting near the Mendoza line would make him borderline unplayable.

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Three Red Sox To Watch:

  1. Jackie Bradley: Bradley’s glove in the outfield has always been a known commodity, but he’s finally broken out offensively this season. He had a 29-game hitting streak earlier this season and is hitting .294/.384/.558 with 13 home runs.
  2. David Ortiz: In the final year of his impressive 20-year career, he’s still getting it done. The 40-year-old is batting .336/.431/.672 with 18 home runs. He leads the league in OPS and OPS+.
  3. Xander Bogaerts: After winning the Silver Slugger award for AL shortstops last season, his offense has gotten even better. He’s improved his batting average by 22 points (.320 to .342), his on-base percentage by 38 points (.355 to .393), and his slugging percentage by 70 points (.421 to .491). He’s already passed his home run total from last season.

Next: Heaney done until 2018

So let’s see if the Angels can get something to go right for a change.  Let’s hope that they can make Bean Town their own personal playground.

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