Angels-Red Sox Preview

The Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox came into this season

with hopes of contending for division titles, or at the very least,

the AL’s two wild card berths.

The clubs’ playoff aspirations, though, have taken a big hit

this month, but each team has a chance to help itself at the

other’s expense.

The Angels and Red Sox will play the first of six matchups over

the next two weeks Tuesday night at Fenway Park.

With the high-profile signings of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson,

Los Angeles appeared ready to challenge two-time pennant winner

Texas for the AL West crown. The Angels (62-60), however, have

faded in that race by going 5-13 this month and head into Boston

after getting swept in four home games against Tampa Bay.

Los Angeles was outscored 37-14 during that set, and home runs

from Pujols and Mike Trout were hardly enough in an 8-3 defeat

Sunday.

“It’s baseball. Just come out Tuesday against Boston and turn

the page,” Trout told the team’s official website. “The last couple

of weeks have been tough, but you just have to stay positive.”

The Red Sox (59-63) are trying to do the same after starting

6-12 this month. They fell even further behind in the AL East this

weekend after dropping two of three to first-place New York.

With a 4-1 loss Sunday, Boston finished 4-6 on its season-high,

10-game road trip and dropped to 13-19 since David Ortiz hurt his

right Achilles tendon. Ortiz might return during his team’s

seven-game homestand but likely won’t be in the lineup Tuesday.

“It’s difficult (to watch),” Ortiz told the team’s official

website. “We want to win right now pretty much in the last quarter

of the season. Seeing the wild card (standings) every day,

definitely, we’ve got to be able to win some games.”

The Red Sox will try to earn those wins during a quick

completion of their season series with the Angels. After the three

games at Fenway, the teams will play three more in Anaheim from

Aug. 28-30.

Aaron Cook (3-6, 4.58 ERA) will try to help Boston win the first

of those meetings. After earning a win over Texas on Aug. 6, the

right-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning Wednesday in

Baltimore, but his throwing error led to five runs in a 5-3

defeat.

“I let the team down. We’re trying to win games, and that was a

game we should have won,” Cook said. “It’s a play I’ve made 100

times. I just didn’t get my feet set.”

He is 2-1 with a 2.86 ERA in three starts against the Angels

with the most recent coming June 26, 2010, while with Colorado.

Cook’s counterpart in this game, Ervin Santana (6-10, 5.59),

will try to win consecutive starts for the first time since

mid-June and third time this season. He gave up one run, four hits

and a walk over seven innings Wednesday during an 8-4 win over

Cleveland.

“I know that I hadn’t been pitching good, but I was just doing

my best, and I just think positive every time,” Santana said. “The

last few outings I had been getting better, and then tonight, even

better.”

Santana has a 2.01 ERA over his last five starts at Fenway but

has gotten one win out of his efforts. The Angels are 4-10 over

their last 14 games in Boston but won their final two there last

season. They’re also 4-17 in the past 21 overall matchups.

Santana won’t have to deal with Red Sox left fielder Carl

Crawford, who will have Tommy John surgery on his left elbow

Thursday. Crawford, who has been playing with pain since coming off

the disabled list last month, hit .282 in 31 games.