Red Sox-Angels Preview

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.