Hopefully you plan on staying up late tonight, because the Boston Red Sox (50-64) are heading out to the West Coast to take on the Los Angeles Angels (67-47) this weekend.
The Angels have lost three straight to fall three games back of the Oakland A's in the AL West, but still hold a comfortable lead over the rest of the pack for the top Wild Card spot. They have a +83 run differential that is second best in the majors, trailing only Oakland in that category and in runs scored.
Boston's -60 run differential is the third worst in the AL, ahead of only Houston and Texas.
- Allen Webster (1-1, 6.75 ERA) takes the hill for Boston. He has struggled with his command in both of his starts this season, walking 11 batters in 8 total innings this season. He was lifted after recording the first two outs in the 3rd inning of his last start against the New York Yankees, surrendering 4 runs.
- Christian Vazquez has seen his workload increase far beyond what was expected due to the injury to David Ross. Tonight he plays in his 12th straight game, with only a couple of off days for the team sprinkled in to give him a break. He was hitting .292 through his first 7 games when he was playing ever other day, but that average was fallen to .255 since then. He was always known more for his defense behind the plate than his bat, so perhaps this is more an indication of his true level of play – or it could be that he's starting to wear down late in the season due to the increase in playing time. Dan Butler has yet to make an appearance since being called up and Vazquez may need to keep grinding it out until Ross is ready to return.
- Mike Napoli is a former Angel who played with Jered Weaver from the time they came up together in 2006 through 2010. Since leaving the Angels, Napoli has been successful against his former teammate, hitting .333/.419/.630 with 2 HR in 27 at-bats.
- Jered Weaver (12-6, 3.59 ERA) starts for LA. He's given up 2 runs or less in 5 of his last 6 starts and hasn't suffered a loss since June 16. Since then he's piled up 5 wins and his team has only gone on to lose 1 of his no-decisions in that span.
- Mike Trout just turned 23 this week and is already the best player in baseball and well on his way to earning his first MVP award. Many would argue that he has been the game's best player since he arrived on the scene two years ago and should have won the last two MVPs (sorry Miguel Cabrera). How great is Trout? How about historically great. Trout has already set records for WAR (25.8) and OPS+ (169) among players through their age-22 season. No other player in major league history has hit over 80 home runs and stolen over 80 bases before turning 23. Trout is a special once-in-a-generation type player on a Hall of Fame path, which is incredible to say of someone so young. A lot of Red Sox fans have thrown in the towel on following this season, but this series in particular is worth tuning in to in order to get a glimpse of watching Trout play.
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Tags: Allen Webster, Baseball, Boston, Boston Red Sox, Christian Vazquez, Mike Napoli, MLB