Angels-Red Sox Preview

If it weren’t for the Boston Red Sox, the Los Angeles Angels

might have a comfortable lead atop the AL West.

Were it not for the Angels, Boston might be deep in the AL East

basement.

The Red Sox seek to improve to 7-0 against the Angels when they

continue their four-game set at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

With a fourth consecutive win overall in this game, Boston

(14-15) can reach the .500 mark for the first time in 2011 – a

significant accomplishment for a team that opened 0-6 and 2-10.

The biggest reason for the rebound is Boston’s continued

dominance of the Angels (16-14). The Red Sox have won 15 of 16

meetings, including all six this season, and have outscored the

Angels 16-8 to take the first two of this week’s series.

“It’s not losing 15 out of 16 to, no disrespect, like the

Mariners or the Pirates. It’s the Boston Red Sox. They’re a good

ballclub,” said Angels starter Dan Haren, who took the loss

Tuesday. “In order to do 15 out of 16 you’ve got to have a little

luck on your side. A lot of things have to happen, because it’s not

that easy. We’ve got to just hope we can scratch one out

(Wednesday) and then go from there.”

Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz hit back-to-back home runs to

begin the eighth inning Tuesday as Boston broke open a close game

en route to a 7-3 victory.

Jon Lester struck out 11 over seven innings, allowing one run to

continue a masterful run by Boston’s rotation in the season series.

The starters have compiled a 1.03 ERA in the six wins, limiting the

Angels to 28 hits over 43 2-3 innings while striking out 41.

Josh Beckett (2-1, 2.65), who will get the ball Wednesday, is

Boston’s only starter to pitch against the Angels this season and

not get credit for the win, though he certainly pitched well

enough. The right-hander didn’t give up a hit until the sixth

inning April 21 in Anaheim and allowed two runs and three hits over

eight innings of a 4-2, 11-inning win.

Beckett will now try to bounce back from his worst outing of

2011. He gave up season highs of four runs and seven hits in six

innings at Baltimore last Wednesday but didn’t get a decision in a

5-4 loss.

Angels designated hitter Bobby Abreu is a .182 hitter versus

Beckett with 25 strikeouts in 77 at-bats. Those strikeouts are the

most for any active major league pitcher against any active

batter.

Beckett will be opposed by Ervin Santana (1-3, 4.89). The

right-hander, who won a career-high 17 games in 2010, finally broke

into this season’s win column Friday in Tampa, where he limited the

Rays to one earned run in six innings of an 8-5 victory.

Santana got charged with a 5-0 loss against the Red Sox on April

23, striking out nine but surrendering five runs and nine hits in

seven innings. He fell to 2-3 with a 4.58 ERA in his career versus

Boston.

Since April 21, the Angels are 0-6 against the Red Sox and 4-2

versus other opponents.