MLB

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 - 10:05 PM ET
 

Red Sox-Angels Preview

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Jered Weaver had few problems with a Boston Red Sox lineup that included Adrian Gonzalez last week, so there's little reason to suspect he'll struggle in Tuesday night's rematch.

His Los Angeles Angels hope there's at least one high-priced first baseman on the field in Anaheim.

Albert Pujols is aiming to return as the Angels look to follow a sweep of the Red Sox by ending a seven-game home skid against Boston.

Weaver (16-3, 2.74 ERA) will face Clay Buchholz again after their matchup Wednesday proved to be no contest. The Angels ace allowed two runs over seven innings at Fenway Park, while his teammates got seven runs and 12 hits off Buchholz in a 7-3 victory.

Pujols, though, left that game with an injured right calf and hasn't played since. The Angels finished their sweep in Boston with a wild 14-13, 10-inning win Thursday, but they totaled seven runs while dropping two of three in Detroit over the weekend without their superstar slugger, who is batting .387 with four homers and 10 RBIs in his last eight games.

"When Albert is ready to play, he's going to play," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're not holding him out to get him ready for the stretch. If he was available and could play, he would be playing."

The Angels (66-62) are already feeling some urgency as they try to stay within striking distance of a wild-card spot in the AL. They're chasing Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Oakland and the Tigers.

Losing seven of nine at home has not helped matters, especially with Weaver suffering two of those defeats. The right-hander was 14-1 with a 1.45 ERA in his previous 21 outings in Anaheim before his back-to-back home losses.

His most recent performance there - he allowed nine runs in three-plus innings Aug. 17 against Tampa Bay - looks like an extreme aberration. Weaver has been sharp against Boston at home, posting a 1.80 ERA in seven starts including postseason while allowing two runs or fewer in each.

The Red Sox, though, haven't lost in Anaheim since dropping the first two games of their 2009 AL division series there en route to being swept in their most recent playoff appearance.

Boston (62-67) begins a nine-game West Coast trip after shipping three of its highest-paid players to California. The Red Sox sent Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers along with Nick Punto over the weekend, turning toward the future amid a massively disappointing season.

They also won't have David Ortiz on this trip after the designated hitter went back on the disabled list Monday, although he hopes to return this season after getting an injection for his strained right Achilles.

He also said he wants to be back with the Red Sox in 2013.

"For years I always keep telling everyone I want to be part of this organization," he said. "This is what I know. I know we've had a lot of injuries this year. I know how hard it's been."

Boston is also hoping Buchholz (11-4, 4.47) can help anchor the rotation next year.

The right-hander is trying to bounce back after a rare rocky outing. He had been 7-1 with a 2.19 ERA in his previous 12 starts before getting roughed up by the Angels, and he's 4-1 with a 2.38 ERA in his last six road starts.

Reliever Alfredo Aceves is expected to rejoin the Red Sox in Anaheim following a three-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, although it's unclear if he'll regain the closer role with Andrew Bailey healthy.

Tagged: Red Sox, Angels, Dodgers, Albert Pujols, Jered Weaver, Clay Buchholz

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