Jul 6, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (15) throws to first on a double play to get Los Angeles Angels left fielder J.B. Shuck (39) during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Red Sox - Angels Preview

This weekend’s series between the Sox and Angels is a big one- for the Angels that is. Obviously, the Red Sox are a long-shot to even be considered for the playoffs, and it appears that the focus of the front office has shifted from this year to next.

However, in Anaheim, things are going a bit differently. This weekend’s series against the Red Sox has a lot at stake… let’s take a look.

I spoke with Jose Serrano of Fansided’s HaloHangout.com, covering the Angels, and this is what he had for me:

BSI: 1. What’s the biggest news going on with the Angels right now?

HH: They’re coming off home-and-home series with the Dodgers where errors lost two games and ineffective hitting cost the finale. If Garrett Richards‘ hadn’t tossed a complete game shutout Monday, the Angels would trail division-leading Oakland by four.

The Freeway Series is a big deal in Southern California, and it may not translate to the East Coast given late start times, but every game was sold out in what it truly felt like a playoff atmosphere. It’s about bragging rights. The Dodgers have that right for the next year.

BSI: 2. With the Angels two games out of the division lead, how important is this series against a struggling Boston team?

HH: It’s crucial solely because Oakland is going to steamroll through the Twins. A three-game lead could turn into six with the blink of an eye.

The Angels may have the second-best record in the Majors but AL East teams have been a problem. Couple that with their three-game losing streak and Boston has a legitimate shot to win the series.

Jered Weaver, Garrett Richards, and Hector Santiago are the projected starter; none have success against the Red Sox. The trio has compiled a 4-7 record and 6.03 ERA with Weaver picking up each victory. That doesn’t bode well for the Angels’ strained bullpen.

BSI: 3. What is one thing to watch for in the series?

HH: Richards and Clay Buchholz is the weekend’s key pitching match-up, but look for Friday night’s game to set the tone.

Weaver needs to prove he’s still the staff’s ace. Aside from six-run outing in Baltimore last month, the right-hander has allowed two runs or less in every outing since July 7. His velocity is gone-rarely reaching 93 MPH-and a walk rate of 2.8 per nine innings is trending toward a career-high but Weaver has a knack for stepping up in big games.

His performance set the precedent for the weekend.

BSI: 4. Predictions?

HH: Both clubs are coming off a tough week. The advantage fall in Los Angeles’ favor mainly because their offense is ready to break out.

The Angels’ win Friday and Saturday’s games while the Red Sox take Sunday’s matinee.

So there you have it! Let’s look for tonight’s game to set the tone for the series, but the big match-up will be tomorrow between Buchholz and Richards. The Angels have to try to get there game back together this weekend against the Sox if they’re looking to keep the division race tight, while the Red Sox haven’t really got much to lose.

We’ll see how it goes. Tonight’s game begins at 10:05 pm.

Tags: Boston Red Sox

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