When the 2013 MLB season began, the Los Angeles Angels were among the favorites to win the American League pennant at 9-2, behind only the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers.
However, the Halos (26-34) enter this weekend’s three-game set at Fenway Park as the AL’s most disappointing team — at least south of the Canadian border. Now L.A. is 12-1 to win the pennant, compared to Boston’s 7-1.
The addition of former AL MVP Josh Hamilton, on a five-year, $125 million deal, was supposed to give Los Angeles the majors’ best lineup along with 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout and three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols. Only Trout has played well among the trio, and even that has been a bit of a step back from his historic rookie year. Hamilton has been one of the worst regulars in the AL with a .216 average and 62 strikeouts. He hasn’t homered since May 26.
Pujols has been a bit better than Hamilton, batting .243 with nine homers and 35 RBIs, but he is battling through foot and knee pain that may necessitate a trip to the disabled list at some point. The two Angels really hitting are Howie Kendrick (.317, eight home runs, 32 RBIs) and Trout (.293/10/38) after a slow start. Mark Trumbo leads the team with 15 homers and 40 RBIs.
The Angels had to replace three starting pitchers this offseason, and that rotation remains a question mark, although it has been a bit better of late. New addition Joe Blanton has struggled. Ace Jered Weaver has mostly been good, but he has been limited to four starts due to injury. He’s not expected to pitch in this series, although Sunday would be his scheduled day. The Angels are expected to give him extra rest with Thursday’s day off.
Boston will be approximately a -155 favorite for this series. The Angels have lost five of their past six games against two of the worst clubs in the majors, the Astros and Cubs.
The Halos are scheduled to start Tommy Hanson on Friday (2-2, 4.19). He returned from a nearly month-long DL stint by allowing five runs and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings in a loss to Houston on May 31. Hanson has faced Boston once, back in 2009. Stephen Drew has four hits in 11 at-bats with a homer off the former Brave.
On Saturday, L.A. starts lefty C.J. Wilson (4-4, 3.93). He has allowed more than three earned runs in just two starts all season and held the Astros to three runs in 7 1/3 innings last time out. The Angels have won only one of his past six starts. Wilson is 5-1 with a 2.62 ERA in his career against Boston. A Dustin Pedroia hitting prop may be a wise bet against Wilson, as Pedroia is hitting a team-high .467 with a homer and five RBIs in his career against him.
Blanton (1-9, 5.53) is scheduled to start Sunday. He leads the AL in losses but has had three straight quality starts to save his rotation spot. Consider MLB props on David Ortiz homering in this one, as Big Papi is hitting .345 with three homers in 29 at-bats against Blanton.