Five months ago, anyone looking ahead at the schedule would have circled this week’s three-game set between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels as one with potential playoff implications. As it happens, the Red Sox and Angels enter the series neck-and-neck in the battle for most disappointing team in the American League. At four games below .500, Boston holds the pole position for that dubious honor.
Los Angeles had a chance to make some noise in the playoff race with a four-game home series against wild card-leading Tampa Bay over the weekend but was demolished in four straight games by a combined 37-14. That leaves the Angels four games out of the second wild card spot. The Red Sox are three games south of that and fired pitching coach Bob McClure on Monday with the rotation a particular point of concern. That pitching staff will have to deal with the likes of Albert Pujols and Mike Trout, who has hit in seven straight and homered and each of the last two games.
Angels Red Sox Betting
When: 7:10 PM ET, Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FS West (Los Angeles), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH Ervin Santana (6-10, 5.59 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Aaron Cook (3-6, 4.58)
Santana has been one of the biggest disappointments for Los Angeles this season but is coming off one of his better efforts. The right-hander surrendered only one run and four hits over seven innings to earn a win over the Cleveland Indians. Santana has gone at least six innings in three straight games. He owns a 2-3 career record with a 4.27 ERA in 10 starts against the Red Sox.
Cook is only 1-5 in his last seven starts and had his command abandon him last time out, when he issued three walks in 5 1/3 innings at Baltimore. He took a no-hitter into the fifth inning in that turn before he made a throwing error and unraveled in the inning. Cook has allowed at least five runs in four of his last five starts but is 2-1 with a 2.86 ERA in three career starts against Los Angeles.
1. Red Sox LF Carl Crawford will undergo season-ending elbow surgery. The former All-Star hit .282 with three homers and five stolen bases in 31.
2. Trout has 16 home runs since the start of July – tied with Pujols for the most in the majors over that stretch. He also extended his streak of successful stolen base attempts to 30 over the weekend.
3. Boston DH David Ortiz (Achilles) is getting closer to returning but likely won’t be back by Tuesday.