What Will Be the Most Difficult Series During Boston’s 10-Game West Coast Trip?

After Sunday’s game against the Rangers, the Red Sox will be heading out West to face the other three members of the AL West.

While the division is not exactly regarded as a powerhouse (it and the NL Central are vying for worst in baseball), the Angels, Mariners, and A’s are a combined 10 games over .500 at home this season, so the games won’t be gimmes.

With so many tough AL East games looming, too, it is important to get as many W’s against lesser competition as possible.

Oakland, a doormat for the past few seasons after a half-decade of Moneyball success, currently sits with a 45-46 season record. Their team batting average, a mundane .263, is actually good for 10th best in the majors, and their team ERA of 3.83 is seventh best, an impressive feat for an AL club. As always, though, the A’s are a bunch of no-names. Their best hitters are Ryan Sweeney, Jack Cust and Kurt Suzuki. Their best pitchers, reminiscent of the Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, Barry Zito generation, are Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson and Justin Duscherer, but the latter two are battling injuries. Closer Andrew Bailey has also impressed. Even if you don’t know them, the A’s aren’t going to roll over.

Seattle, on the other hand, went from being a three-man team to being a two-man team when Cliff Lee was offloaded to Texas before the All-Star break. Basically, they are down to Ichiro Suzuki and Felix Hernandez. High expectations for Franklin Gutierrez and Chone Figgins existed going into the season, but those two talents have hardly lived up to the hype. Doug Fister has been a pleasant surprise, but the M’s simply haven’t had enough.

After years of dominance, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are now an average baseball team. Their starting rotation — Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, Joel Pineiro and Joe Saunders — is relatively strong, but their team ERA ranks 24th in the league. On offense, the team has talent, featuring Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu and Hideki Matsui among others, but they are definitely missing their biggest weapon, Kendry Morales, who is out for the season.

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