Arguably the Red Sox’ toughest road trip of the season begins Friday night in Anaheim with a three-game set against the Angels, followed by four in Seattle and three in Oakland. It’s never easy for an East Coast team to go on one of those long West Coast trips with late-night starts.
Not too long ago, it looked like visiting the Halos wouldn’t be too bad. They had been the American League’s most disappointing team. However, like the crosstown Dodgers, the Angels are now starting to play up to expectations and will be a solid series betting favorite against Boston.
When the Angels visited Boston in early June, they lost two of three – a Saturday doubleheader was needed after a rainout – and limped out at 27-36. Things looked truly lost when the Angels were swept by Pittsburgh in a three-game series at home in late June to fall 10 games under .500.
Sometimes it takes just one series to turn a season around, and the Angels may have gotten it early last week when they swept a three-game series at Detroit, scoring 24 runs in the process. Los Angeles caught a major break in avoiding Tigers aces Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, but that happens in baseball. The Angels followed that with a three-game sweep at Houston before playing well at home this week against NL power St. Louis.
The Los Angeles rotation still leaves much to be desired outside of Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, but the offense is starting to wake up. Mike Trout is 13-2 to win the AL MVP, behind only Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera and Baltimore’s Chris Davis. Many believed Trout should have won it over Cabrera in 2012. Howie Kendrick is the Angels’ Dustin Pedroia, and Kendrick leads all MLB second basemen in batting average. If Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton would ever fully wake up, this lineup will be as scary as predicted. The Sox won’t have to worry about center fielder Peter Bourjos, who was recently lost with a fractured wrist. He’s hitting .326 and plays tremendous defense.
In the earlier series with Boston, Trout was a menace, going 7-for-14 with four doubles and two RBIs. Kendrick was 5-for-12, Pujols had a homer but hit .182 and Hamilton was 2-for-14 with three strikeouts.
The Angels’ two aces, Wilson (8-5, 3.63) and Weaver (2-4, 3.79), are scheduled to start on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Wilson has pitched seven shutout innings in two of his past three starts. He pitched June 8 at Fenway Park, allowing four runs on eight hits in five innings in a 7-2 loss. Pedroia is worth a prop bet as he feasts off Wilson in his career with a .471 average, a homer and six RBIs in 17 at-bats.
Weaver has allowed a total of two earned runs and 10 hits in 14 innings over his past two starts. He missed the Sox earlier this season and is 3-5 with a 4.31 ERA career against Boston. David Ortiz has two homers and nine RBIs with a .345 average against Weaver.
The Sox were swept in Anaheim last year and will be around +145 underdogs this time.
This post is presented by Bovada.