Mike Scioscia

Red Sox-Angels series preview

August 18, 2014 - 8:37 am
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The Red Sox'€™ 11-game homestand continues Monday as they host the Angels for a four-game series at Fenway Park. Boston is coming off of a disappointing four-game split with the Astros, who managed to cross the plate 15 times over the final two games. The Red Sox lost in disappointing fashion Sunday, as Joe Kelly gave up seven earned runs in his Fenway debut en route to an 8-1 Astros win. "Plenty of stuff. Plenty of power. Plenty of action to his secondary pitches," said Red Sox manager John Farrell when speaking about Kelly. "Just his command was not as its been in the first two outings for him." In their last meeting with the Angels, the Red Sox took two of three games in Anaheim from Aug. 8-10. A four-game set at Fenway comes at a crucial time for Mike Scioscia'€™s Angels, as the club enters Monday'€™s game percentage points ahead of Oakland for first place in the American League West. Los Angeles is coming off of a series win against the Rangers that almost ended in an Angels sweep. However, Texas scored two runs off closer Huston Street in the ninth inning Sunday for a 3-2 walkoff win. "It's always a strange feeling when you don't get your job done," Street said after the game. "It's not really strange so much as it is frustrating, but it happens. It's the game; that's why we play them. I didn't make very good pitches out there. That's the bottom line." The Angels have had the upper hand against Boston over the last few seasons, winning six of their last eight games at Fenway Park and 12 of their last 17 games overall against the Red Sox. Here are the probable pitchers for the four-game series. Monday: Brandon Workman (1-6, 4.45 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (9-8, 4.71 ERA) Tuesday: Allen Webster (3-1, 4.79 ERA) vs. Jered Weaver (14-7, 3.66 ERA) Wednesday: Clay Buchholz (5-7, 5.79 ERA) vs. Garrett Richards (13-4, 2.53 ERA) Thursday: Rubby De La Rosa (4-4, 3.79 ERA) vs. Matt Shoemaker (11-4, 3.84 ERA) WHO'€™S HOT: RED SOX -- Daniel Nava was the lone source of offense for the Red Sox Sunday, driving in the team'€™s only run of the game thanks to an RBI double in the third inning. The 31-year-old outfielder is hitting at a blistering .500 (9-for-18) clip over his last five games with five doubles and four RBIs. Since being recalled from Pawtucket on June 2, Nava ranks fourth in the American League in on-base percentage (.399) while compiling a .331 batting average. -- After surrendering seven earned runs in back-to-back outings from July 28-Aug. 3, Clay Buchholz has made a big rebound, posting two quality starts in a row against the Angels and Astros. Buchholz, who has mixed in his curveball at a much higher frequency over his last two starts, has compiled a 3.00 ERA during that stretch with 17 strikeouts in 15 innings of work. Despite his improved performance on the mound, Buchholz has not received a win since July 18. -- Dustin Pedroia, who sat out Sunday'€™s game with flu-like symptoms, has been a spark plug for the Red Sox offense. The second baseman has gotten on base via a hit in 13 of his last 16 games, batting .358 (24-for-67) during that stretch. WHO'€™S HOT: ANGELS -- Southpaw Garrett Richards has been a revelation for the Angels this season, posting a 13-4 record with a 2.53 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in 25 starts. Richards has only gotten better as the summer has progressed, posting a 1.79 ERA since the start of June while only surrendering five home runs in 167 innings of work. -- While some of L.A.'€™s biggest stars have slumped over the past few games, outfielder Kole Calhoun has helped with shouldering the load on offense, batting .409 over his last seven games with two home runs and eight RBIs. Calhoun has been a steady presence in the Angels lineup for most of the season, as the 26-year-old has not recorded an OPS below .800 in any month since May. WHO'€™S NOT: RED SOX -- While his lackluster play at shortstop has proven to be costly over the last few games, Xander Bogaerts has not done much at the plate, either. Bogaerts is stuck in an 0-for-12 slump dating back to Wednesday. He's batting .115 with just two extra-base hits this month. -- Will Middlebrooks may have collected two hits Sunday, but the third baseman still is hitting just .171 (7-for-41) with no home runs and 10 strikeouts in August. WHO'€™S NOT: ANGELS -- Josh Hamilton has not been the run-producer that the Angels have expected him to be this year, as the talented outfielder is only hitting .266 with eight home runs and 35 RBIs in just 72 games. The five-time All-Star is batting just .189 in August and has been every worse as of late -- striking out seven times in his last two games. He asked for and received a day off Sunday. -- Another star player in the Angels lineup has been struggling as of late, as Mike Trout has slowed down this month, hitting just .053 (1-for-19) over his last seven games with no extra-base hits. While Trout is only batting .217 in 60 at-bats this month, he has still been a solid contributor on offense, crushing three home runs and driving in 10 runs.

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