The Los Angeles Angels just completed a dramatic three-game sweep of the worst team in the American League, the Baltimore Orioles. Now, on a hot streak of six wins in seven games, they face a far more daunting task in the AL’s best team, the Boston Red Sox.
The Angels may be red hot right now, but the Red Sox have been hotter. They’ve won nine of their last 10, including sweeps of the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees. In that time, their total margin of victory was 62-29. Clearly, their wins have come on the back of their incredible offense.
The Red Sox rank in the top-five of nearly every offensive statistic — much like the Angels — but are much closer to league average than the Halos on the mound.
The Angels’ pitchers will certainly have their work cut out for them during this three-game set. Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, Alex Verdugo, and Hunter Renfroe make up one of the most lethal offensive combinations in baseball.
In order to win this series, they’ll need their pitching to step up the way their offense has in the last week. Shohei Ohtani, Jared Walsh, and others have been absolutely incredible during the six out of seven run, but will desperately need the pitchers to keep it going.
The Angels and Red Sox faced off earlier this season at Fenway Park, where Boston took home two of three. They were one out away from completing the sweep before Mike Trout got on base and Ohtani hit a two-run home run to steal a victory.
Two of the most interesting story lines of this series are both on the Angels pitching front. The first is Ohtani trying to bounce back after the worst start of his career at Yankee Stadium last Wednesday. He’ll take the mound Tuesday in order to do so.
The second is Jose Suarez — Monday’s starter — taking the place of Dylan Bundy in the rotation. Suarez has been superb in long relief this season, but will now get the chance to take over a starting role, and will be up against a formidable offense when he does.
The Angels — with some improved pitching and renewed confidence in the clubhouse — can maintain their over .500 record with a series win. With just six games left until the All-Star break, now is the time to make their mark on the standings.
Angels (42-41) vs. Red Sox (53-32)
Angel Stadium, Anaheim, California
Game 1: Monday, July 5, 6:30 p.m. PT, ESPN
Game 2: Tuesday, July 6, 6:38 p.m. PT, Bally Sports West
Game 3: Wednesday, July 7, 1:07 p.m. PT, Bally Sports West
Probable Pitching Matchups:
Jose Suarez (3-1, 1.98 ERA) vs. Martin Perez (6-4, 4.04 ERA)
Shohei Ohtani (3-1, 3.60 ERA) vs. Nathan Eovaldi (9-4, 3.41 ERA)
Andrew Heaney (4-6, 5.40 ERA) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (6-4, 5.42 ERA)