Red Sox: Expect offensive fireworks when stars collide with Angels in town

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - APRIL 28: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels takes the field for pregame warmups before the Angels take on the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field on April 28, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - APRIL 28: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels takes the field for pregame warmups before the Angels take on the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field on April 28, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The Red Sox collide with another star-studded lineup at Fenway Park

The first-place Boston Red Sox are hosting a Los Angeles Angels team stuck at the bottom of the AL West for a weekend series at Fenway Park. While these clubs have vastly different outlooks in the standings, the Angels bring a lineup that can rival Boston’s bats.

The Red Sox lead the league in runs scored and slugging percentage while the Angels rank in the top-five in both categories. Boston ranks second with a .261 batting average and .331 wOBA but Los Angeles isn’t far behind, ranking in the top-five with a .252 average and .319 wOBA.

Both top-heavy lineups are headlined by multiple stars but there’s no brighter superstar in baseball than Mike Trout. The three-time MVP would be the clear front-runner for the hardware this year if his team manages to climb out of the basement and into the playoff race. Trout is currently the runner-up for the batting title with a .355 average while leading the league with a .477 OBP, .673 SLG, 1.150 OPS, .478 wOBA, 216 wRC+ and 2.5 WAR, per FanGraphs.

The future Hall of Fame outfielder’s numbers are off the charts and the only bats that can come close to his stratosphere are featured in the Red Sox lineup.

Trout leads the majors in OPS but J.D. Martinez is second in the American League with a 1.044 OPS and Xander Bogaerts is fourth with a 1.009 OPS. Only seven major league hitters entered the day with an OPS above 1.000 and the Red Sox are the only team with multiple players on that list.

If MVP voters hold his team’s record against Trout, the door opens for Martinez to emerge as the favorite. He leads the league with 33 RBI and ranks second with 10 home runs and a .624 SLG. His .340 average is fifth while his .420 OBP ranks fourth.

As hesitant as voters may be to award the MVP to a player from a non-contender, the bias might be even stronger against designated hitters. If that costs Martinez some votes, the Red Sox have an alternative in Bogaerts. The star shortstop is batting .346 (fourth in the AL), with a .406 OBP (sixth), .603 SLG (fourth), and eight home runs (ninth). Bogaerts trails only Trout with 2.0 fWAR.

Let’s not forget about Rafael Devers. He’s not as close to the top of the offensive leaders and he remains a liability on defense but Devers is still an elite run producer with nine home runs, 30 RBI and a .905 OPS.

Martinez, Bogaerts and Devers are all tied for second in the league with 20 extra-base hits. This is only the third time in franchise history that the Red Sox have had three players record 20+ extra-base hits in the team’s first 40 games (also 2000 & 2016).

The league leader in that category? Angels DH Shohei Ohtani with 21 extra-base hits. The two-way star isn’t scheduled to pitch in this series but the Red Sox will need to worry about his bat. Ohtani brings plenty of power with 10 homers, 26 RBI and a .877 OPS.

Anthony Rendon has been sidelined by a knee contusion since May 4 but could return to the lineup during this series in Boston. The former All-Star was off to a bit of a slow start prior to the injury, batting .276/.348/.466 with three home runs and 11 RBI through 15 games. Those are solid numbers but still below his career level.

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Rendon finished third on the NL MVP ballot in 2019 when he was with the Washington Nationals, he has two other top-six finishes on his resume and he was 10th during last year’s shortened season, his first with the Angels. This is still a dangerous hitter for the Red Sox to worry about if he makes it back into the lineup this weekend.

One hitter the Red Sox won’t need to worry about is Albert Pujols, who was released by the Angels this month. The 41-year-old is a shell of his former self but he’s one of the best hitters of his generation so it would have been a thrill to have seen him one last time at Fenway.

The Angels lineup isn’t quite as deep with only four players owning an OPS above .720 this season compared to six players for Boston. The Red Sox have their fair share of holes near the bottom of the order though.

These are two high-scoring teams centered around a trio of stars. It’s Martinez, Bogaerts and Devers versus Trout, Ohtani and (possibly) Rendon.

Next. Grading Red Sox after fast start in 2021. dark

The Angels haven’t been playing all that well as a team but they have some marquee names who will generate some buzz in Boston this weekend. It’s always a treat to witness Trout, who is making a case for becoming the best player in baseball history. Alongside his star teammates, we could be in store for some fireworks as the Angels try to keep pace with Boston’s high-powered offense.