Wednesday MLB Preview – Red Sox at Angels

The Angels look to avoid dropping to .500 this late in the season in over seven years and seek their first victory of the season against today’s opponent.

Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels

Boston moved its current road trip record to 5-4 and will finish the 10-game West Coast journey this afternoon, after picking up a 4-2 victory over the Angels last night at Angel Stadium.  “We just need to win games right now,” Tuesday night starter John Lackey said.  “We’re in a tough division.”  The Red Sox had dropped 12 of 18 games earlier this month due to an assortment of injuries, but the team has had five players return from the disabled list in the last past week.  The club is a perfect 6-0 against the Halos this season and 37-31 in this series since the start of the 2003 season.  This contest will be the final of 14-straight games against the AL West, with the Sox coming in with a 14-9 record versus the division.  Boston has compiled an even 61-61 daytime record over the last three years (-1,530), but stand at an 8-16 mark in 2010 (-1,280).

Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett is an even 1-1 with a 6.66 ERA in nine starts this season and will be making his second start since returning from the disabled list.  On July 23 in Seattle, he led the club to a 2-1 victory, allowing just a single run and five hits over 5.2 innings of work.  He is 1-0 with a 5.60 ERA in five road starts, as opponents are hitting for a combined .301 average.  Beckett will be toeing the rubber for just his second daytime start, giving up two runs and six hits over seven frames under the sun this season.  He will be making his first start of the year against the Angels and hasn’t defeated them in the regular season since April 16, 2007.  Over that span, the right-hander is 0-3 with a 4.89 ERA in five starts.

Los Angeles could possibly fall to the .500 mark on the season with a loss this afternoon, which would mark the latest in a season that this has occurred since the 2003 campaign.  “It was a tough night,” Scioscia said after Tuesday’s game.  The Angels are 5-7 since the All-Star break and 8-15 in July (-840).  The club has averaged 2.0 runs per game in its 15 losses this month, while scoring 6.6 runs per contest in the eight wins.  Los Angeles has a great chance of avoiding the series sweep, bringing in a 18-14 daytime mark this season (+410) and 86-40 record over the last three years (+4,650).  In those 32 games, the Angels are averaging 5.0 runs per game and hitting for a combined .261 mark (.256 season).

Angels starting pitcher Joel Pineiro is 10-7 with a 4.18 ERA in 20 starts this season, but is coming off one of his worst outings of the year.  He suffered a 10-6 loss against the Yankees on July 21, giving up six runs and 11 hits over six frames.  “Against a potent lineup like that, they’re going to make you pay,” he said after the game.  “Everything was up – my curveball, changeup, slider and sinker.”  The right-hander is a solid 7-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 11 home starts, surrendering just three home runs in 76 innings of work.  Pineiro will be making his eighth daytime appearance, going 4-2 with a 3.94 ERA.  In 11 lifetime starts versus the Red Sox, he is 3-6 with a 5.94 ERA, including a 3-1 defeat on May 5 in Boston.

Bettors will have an interest in backing the road team, with the Red Sox being 6-1 on the road with a money line of -100 to -125 (+490) this season, but are 25-32 in the situation over a three year span (-1,120).  Los Angeles has the dominating daytime record to couple with its 9-4 mark when at home and the total is 8 to 8.5 (+440).

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