Red Sox-Angels Preview

Jered Weaver seems to have a good chance of moving into a tie for the AL lead in victories.

He’s unbeaten in his last nine starts and the Los Angeles Angels have won his last five home outings heading into Friday night’s opener of a three-game set with the Boston Red Sox.

Weaver (12-6, 3.59 ERA) is 5-0 with a 3.46 ERA in his last nine outings, alternating wins and no-decisions over his previous seven. He gave up two runs over six innings Sunday to earn a 7-5 victory at Tampa Bay.

The right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in his last five starts at home, yielding no homers in 31 innings.

He’s one victory behind Detroit starters Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer, and Oakland’s Scott Kazmir also goes for his 13th win Friday.

Weaver is 3-3 with a 1.99 ERA in nine career home starts against the Red Sox, including two in the postseason. He has struck out Dustin Pedroia eight times in 34 total at-bats while limiting him to five hits.

David Ortiz is 11 for 37 overall with three homers off Weaver and will be back in the lineup after not starting in Thursday’s 5-2 loss in St. Louis because of concerns about wet grounds. Boston (50-64) did not have a designated hitter in that series so Ortiz, who lined out as a pinch-hitter, would have had to play first base.

The Red Sox will welcome back Allen Craig, who has missed the last five games with his new team due to a left foot sprain.

Boston center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is in an 0-for-27 slump with 13 strikeouts.

Such a stretch seems far-fetched for the man patrolling center for the Angels. Mike Trout is a career .404 hitter against Boston, though he enters this series seeking to avoid his first three-game hitless streak since May 3-5 after going 0 for 3 with a walk on his 23rd birthday in Thursday’s 7-0 loss to the Dodgers.

Trout leads the majors with 99 runs created and employs a patient approach at the plate in which he takes 62.6 percent of pitches for the sixth-highest mark in baseball.

He should have a major advantage in his first look at Boston’s Allen Webster (1-1, 6.75), who has never faced the Angels and has issued 11 walks in eight innings.

Webster makes his third straight start since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on July 26. He was charged with Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the New York Yankees, yielding four runs over 2 2-3 innings with five of his six walks in the third inning.

"It’s not uncommon for young pitchers that when you get into a little bit of a situation where you’re trying to do more, you’re trying harder to throw a strike, not necessarily in terms of velocity, but you’re trying harder to throw a ball in a certain area," manager John Farrell told MLB’s official website.

Webster, who has a career 8.40 road ERA, has never faced Los Angeles.

The Angels (67-47) are seeking to avoid their second four-game slide. They have scored two runs in their last 24 innings.

”There are going to be stretches where you’re not pitching well and not playing well,” catcher Chris Iannetta said. ”We’re not playing bad right now. We’re just not playing to our potential."

These teams haven’t met since splitting six 2013 matchups.