Red Sox vs. Angels Series Preview: West Coast showdown


The Red Sox get their first West Coast test.

The Red Sox (13-2) head west to face the Angels (13-3) for a three-game series in Anaheim. Both teams are off to impressive starts, leading their respective divisions. This series will be must-see T.V. for baseball fans.

The Red Sox will be without Xander Bogaerts and Bobby Poyner for the series. Both are still recovering from minor injuries that are being monitored closely. Dustin Pedroia also remains out while recovering from knee surgery.

However, Tzu-Wei Lin has been picking up the slack with Bogey out. Lin is 6-12 with two doubles and an RBI, and has also been solid defensively. Can Lin continue his hot start and capture more at-bats moving forward?

This will be Boston’s first crack at two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani. As a starting pitcher, Ohtani is 2-0 with 18 strikeouts and a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings pitched. He’s been equally impressive at the plate, hitting .367 with three HR and 11 RBI.

He’s joined by future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, and two-time MVP Mike Trout. The Red Sox have their hands full this series — and we’ll learn how they stack up against one of baseball’s better teams.

Of course, even without Bogaerts, the Red Sox are a pretty good team themselves — and they will pose a much greater threat to the Angels than the Rangers, Royals or Athletics have.

Fasten your seat belts, this series is going to be a wild ride.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, April 17 at 10:07 PM David Price (1-1, 2.40 ERA) vs. Shohei Ohtani (2-0, 2.08 ERA)

Wednesday, April 18 at 10:07 PM Rick Porcello (3-0, 1.83 ERA) vs. Tyler Skaggs (2-0, 1.69 ERA)

Thursday, April 19 at 10:07 PM Eduardo Rodriguez (1-0, 3.72 ERA ) vs. Nick Tropeano (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Series Notes

  • Price left his last start vs. the Yankees after one inning with numbness in his pitching hand. He claims it may be due to cold weather, so let’s hope the sunny California sun will get the lefty back on track.
  • Ohtani looked sensational against the A’s, carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning while striking out 12.
  • Porcello is 6-7 with a 5.87 ERA lifetime against the Angels.
  • Porcello posted his second highest walk amount last year (48). His control seems to be regained, as he’s walked one batter in three starts this year.
  • Skaggs pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings in his lone appearance against Boston on July 31, 2016.
  • Rodriguez pitches in Anaheim for the first time since July 20, 2015, when he got blasted for six hits and seven runs over 1 2/3 innings. The lefty must keep the ball in the yard and avoid his bad habit of letting a bad inning get worse.
  • Tropeano will make his first career start against the Red Sox.
  • Just how good has Boston’s offense been? Hanley Ramirez leads the AL in RBI with 15, J.D. Martinez is tied for fourth with 13 and Mookie Betts sits three behind with 10.
  • Flying under the radar is Justin Upton‘s fast start. He’s hitting .297 with four HR and 11 RBI.

Three Keys To Victory

  • Pitching implosions: The Red Sox struggled against the Angels last season with a 2-4 record. However, all four losses haunted Boston with a reoccurring nightmare of pitching hiccups that the team never recovered from. The Red Sox surrendered a combined eight runs in the sixth inning or later. The Red Sox’ pitching must execute in high leverage innings against the Angels, or they’ll steal the game in a blink of an eye.
  • Keep the ball in the yard: Upton, Pujols, Ohtani and Trout all can send mislocated pitches to the moon. Limit the damage these four do by keeping the ball in the yard and avoiding big innings that put the Sox in an insurmountable hole.
  • Don’t miss key opportunities with men on base: It’ll be interesting to see if either team can keep the opposing offense quiet with two start-studded lineups clashing. However, the Red Sox will need every run they can get with Bogaerts out. They must cash in on opportunities to put runs on the board. Last season, the Red Sox scored three runs or less in all four losses to the Angles. Even if the Red Sox have to get creative, they must avoid leaving men on base.

Next: Red Sox ace Chris Sale’s pitch counts have been troubling

Check back with BoSox Injection prior to the start of every Red Sox series this season for our preview!