Josh Beckett, Red Sox Shoot for Sweep of Angels in Afternoon Baseball When the Red Sox left Seattle on the heels of two straight damaging losses, things looked a tad grim. Consecutive wins over the reeling Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have brightened the skies.

With Josh Beckett on the mound Wednesday afternoon the Sox can finish their second sweep of the Angels this year and return home on a winning note.

Beckett, who returned from a two-month layoff Friday in Seattle, will have some tough acts to follow. Clay Buchholz threw seven superb innings in Boston's 6-3 win in the series opener, and John Lackey worked into the eighth to get the victory in his return to Anaheim on Tuesday night.

The Sox are now 5-4 on their 10-game West Coast road trip.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, has lost six of seven and is fading fast, now 8 1/2 games behind Texas in the American League West and 13 behind wild card-leading Tampa Bay in the loss column.

WHEN AND WHERE

Red Sox (57-44) at Angels (52-51)
Wednesday, July 28, 3:35 p.m. (NESNHD)
Angel Stadium, Anaheim, Calif.

HEAD TO HEAD

The Sox are 6-0 against the Angels in 2010.

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Josh Beckett (1-1, 6.66 ERA) vs. RHP Joel Pineiro (10-7, 4.18 ERA)

Beckett lasted just 5 2/3 in his return start five days ago, but it was a quality stay on the mound and he figures to stretch out from here. He allowed a run on five hits, struck out five and walked three.

The 30-year-old Beckett is winless in seven starts since his lone victory on April 10. He is 2-3 with a 4.13 ERA against the Angels.

Pineiro was scheduled to throw in the series opener but was bumped when Los Angeles acquired Dan Haren. He is coming off his worst outing in two months, giving up six runs on 11 hits in a 10-6 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday.

In a 3-1 loss to the Sox on May 5, Pineiro allowed just two runs in eight innings. The outing left him 3-6 with a 5.94 ERA in his career against Boston.

LINEUPS

Red Sox Angels
Marco Scutaro, SS
Darnell McDonald, RF
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Victor Martinez, C
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jeremy Hermida, LF
Bill Hall, 2B
Eric Patterson, CF
Erick Aybar, SS
Maicer Izturis, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Bobby Abreu, RF
Hideki Matsui, LF
Howard Kendrick, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Bobby Wilson, C
Reggie Willits, CF

STAT SHEET

Red Sox

  • Designated hitter David Ortiz has three home runs in his last three games after going nine games without even one extra-base hit.
  • First baseman Kevin Youkilis is 14-for-32 (.438) during a seven-game hitting streak.
  • Boston is 5-0 against Los Angeles this year.

Angels

  • Designated hitter Hideki Matsui has four homers in his last six games.
  • Right fielder Bobby Abreu his gone 10 games without a multiple-hit effort.
  • Despite going 0-for-4 on Monday, center fielder Torii Hunter is a career .315 (85-for-269) against the Red Sox.

STAT SHEET

Red Sox

  • Since back-to-back blown saves in Colorado last month, closer Jonathan Papelbon has not allowed an earned run in 11 2/3 innings.
  • Red Sox starters have a 1.94 ERA over the last six games.
  • Shortstop Marco Scutaro has nine three-hit games in 2010.

Angels

  • After going 10 games without a home run, right fielder Bobby Abreu has gone deep in both games of the series.
  • Center fielder Torii Hunter is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts in the series.
  • Left fielder Juan Rivera is batting .333 (20-for-60) in July.

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox

  • Second baseman Dustin Pedroia (broken left foot) will cut back on his activities until a CT scan scheduled for Friday in Boston. He is likely about two weeks from returning.
  • Catcher Jason Varitek remains on crutches and is a couple of weeks behind Pedroia in terms of his recovery from a broken left foot.
  • Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury went 1-for-2 with a stolen base in his second rehab game with the club's Gulf Coast League affiliate. He is expected to move to Portland or Pawtucket to continue his recovery from a broken rib.
  • Mike Lowell (hip) tied a Pawtucket record with three home runs in his fourth rehab game Tuesday. He is now 8-for-18 (.444) with six extra-base hits and seven RBIs with the PawSox. Lowell could be activated Friday.
  • Righty Junichi Tazawa underwent Tommy John surgery in March. He is out for the year.

Angels

  • Right-hander Dan Haren left Monday's start with a right forearm contusion after taking a line drive off the bat of Kevin Youkilis. He is not expected to miss any time.
  • Lefty Scott Kazmir is on the DL with shoulder fatigue. An MRI showed no structural damage.
  • Right-handed reliever Jason Bulger has been sidelined with a strained right shoulder since early June.
  • Fellow righty Brian Stokes is also out with shoulder issues. He had a rehab assignment shut down in early June and has only played catch this month.
  • Right-hander Matt Palmer began a rehab assignment in the Arizona League on July 12. He is on the DL with a sprained right shoulder.
  • First baseman Kendry Morales is out for the year with a broken left leg.

OUTLOOK

The Red Sox' losses on this trip have been so painful in the way they've occurred that it almost feels as if it's been a difficult excursion. But with a victory Wednesday the Sox will return home with a winning trip and get to face the struggling Detroit Tigers and the last-place Cleveland Indians on a winnable homestand.