Mike Trout heads to Fenway hitting .295/.394/.564 with 11 home runs and 22 RBIs. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Red Sox-Angels series preview

May 22, 2015 - 10:05 am
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After hosting the Rangers at Fenway, the Red Sox wrap up a six-game homestand with a series against the Angels this weekend. The Sox have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games and lost the series to the Rangers. While the Red Sox starters have started to improve recently, the offense has continued to sputter. In their past nine games, the Red Sox have scored more than two runs only once. The Sox sit at 19-22, in fourth place in the AL East. They are 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Rays. Meanwhile, the Angels are second in the AL West, sitting 5 1/2 games behind the surprise Astros. Los Angeles has a 21-20 record after winning seven of its last 10 games. The Angels lost Thursday night by an 8-4 score to the Blue Jays but won the series by way of victories in the first two games. While the Red Sox offense certainly hasn't been good as of late, it has produced more runs than the Angels. The Angels have scored just 151 runs, ranking 14th in the American League and 27th in the majors. The team batting average of .233 is the third worst in baseball. The team'€™s pitching has allowed the Angels to get above .500 despite such an anemic offense. The pitching staff has a 3.57 ERA overall, good for fourth in the American League. With a .232 batting average against, the Angels rank third in the majors. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have a .259 batting average against, ranking 21st in baseball. On the season, the Angels have allowed one more run than they have scored, as they have played lots of close games. "It's better to win them than lose them, but we're playing an incredible amount of one- and two-run games and holding our own," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his team's performance in close games. "It points to the job our starting pitchers have done keeping us in games while pitching with their backs against the wall, and what Joe Smith and Huston Street have done." The Angels offense, however inefficient thus far, is led by megastar center fielder Mike Trout. Trout is hitting .295/.394/.564 with 11 home runs and 22 RBIs. That puts him third in the AL in homers and fifth in OPS. David Freese, however, is the team leader in RBIs with 25. Here are the pitching matchups for the series: Rick Porcello (4-2, 4.26 ERA) vs. Garrett Richards (3-2, 2.29 ERA) Steven Wright (1-1, 4.02 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (2-2, 3.06 ERA) Wade Miley (3-4, 5.10 ERA) vs. Hector Santiago (3-2, 2.25 ERA) WHO'€™S HOT: RED SOX -- €”After starting the season somewhat slowly, David Ortiz has started to round into form recently. In his past five games Ortiz is hitting .389 with two home runs and four RBIs. Over those five games, he has a whopping 1.300 OPS. -- €”Shortstop Xander Bogaerts has also begun to improve at the plate. Over his past six games, the 22-year-old has hit .368 with a double, triple, home run and two RBIs. -- €”Like the rest of his peers in the Red Sox rotation, Clay Buchholz has performed admirably recently. Over Buchholz'€™s past two starts, he has thrown 15 1/3 innings and allowed just three earned runs. That amounts to a 1.76 ERA to go along with 15 strikeouts over those two games. However, Buchholz hasn't gotten the support of the Red Sox offense, as he received a loss and no-decision in those two outings. WHO'€™S HOT: ANGELS -- David Freese has been playing well in the past week. Freese has a slash line of .308/.296/.692 in the past seven days, hitting three home runs and driving in six. -- €”In his last seven games, Mike Trout is hitting .321 with two home runs and three RBIs. He has scored six runs and has a .959 OPS in that span. -- Richards has been pitching very well of late, going 7 2/3 innings while allowing just two runs in his last start against Baltimore. Richards has allowed only one or two runs in each of his starts dating back to April 19. WHO'€™S NOT: RED SOX -- Left fielder Hanley Ramirez started the season on fire, jumping quickly to 10 home runs and 22 RBIs. Since the beginning of May he has cooled off considerably. In 61 at-bats in May, Ramirez has yet to record a single RBI. Over the past six days, he has hit .148. -- Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Ramirez is only one of many hitters to hit a recent slump. Pablo Sandoval took a pitch to the knee that kept him out of the lineup Wednesday and Thursday. Before that, he was hitting only .133 in his past five games. -- Utility player Brock Holt, not unlike Ramirez, started the season off on a tear. His average, however, has declined. In 13 games in May, Holt has only one RBI and a .158 average. Holt was hitting a ridiculous .457 on April 26 but has since fallen to .280. WHO'€™S NOT: ANGELS -- €”Over the last week, second baseman Johnny Giavotella is hitting 3-for-22 (a .136 average) with five strikeouts. The slump has brought his average down to .258 on the season. -- Kole Calhoun also has not hit very well recently, going 5-for-26 over his past seven games while striking out five times. -- In 35 games this season, Matt Joyce is hitting just .150 with 29 strikeouts in 113 at-bats. Joyce has just one home run and 11 RBIs and holds an offensive WAR of -1.1.

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