With the Angels leading 2-1 in the 8th inning, Howie Kendrick hit a comebacker to the mound that looked like a potential inning-ending double play to get out of a jam. Instead, Junichi Tazawa botched the attempt to field the ball cleanly and had to rush the throw home to try to salvage an out at the plate. The throw hit the runner and bounced away, allowing two runs to score to break open the game. The Red Sox would get a run back in the bottom of the 9th inning that would have tied the game had it not been for those two unearned runs.
The Angels have now won 5 of their last 6 games to pull half a game ahead of the Oakland A's for sole possession of first place in the AL West.
- Allen Webster (3-1, 4.79 ERA) will be on the hill for Boston. He faced the Angels on Boston's last road trip, tossing 6.2 innings and giving up only a pair of runs for his best start of his young career. He wasn't quite as sharp in the following start at home against the Houston Astros, but was good enough to get his second straight win.
- Yoenis Cespedes is getting a day off for the first time since making his Red Sox debut on Aug 2. He's hitting only .219 with a woeful .231 OBP since coming to Boston. He does have 3 home runs and 12 RBI in 15 games though. Hits will start to fall in more often for him eventually, but he needs to improve that 11:1 strikeout to walk ratio.
- Junichi Tazawa has been a reliable set-up man the past two seasons for the Red Sox, but he may be showing signs of overuse lately. Tazawa has been called upon in 10 of the team's last 16 games and is already up to 9.2 innings this month – making it the second highest total he's thrown in any month this season and there's still nearly two weeks left in this month. In the first half of the season he was great, but since the beginning of July he has a 5.00 ERA.
- Jered Weaver (13-7, 3.66 ERA) gets the start for LA. The Red Sox were able to get to him for 4 runs in 6 innings when he faced them earlier this month. Mike Napoli continued his success against his former teammate with a home run in that game. He's now hitting .345/.441/.724 with 3 solo homers off Weaver in his career.
- The Angels bullpen ranks a mediocre 16th in the majors this season with a 3.49 ERA, but they've been much better in the second half of the season following a couple of trades. First, the Angels swapped struggling closers by sending Ernesto Frieri to Pittsburgh for Jason Grilli. Frieri was recently optioned to Triple-A after posting an ugly 7.34 ERA this season. Since joining the Angels roster, Grilli has a 2.25 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 20 innings as a set-up man. Then the Angels traded for Houston Street, who had been one of the best closers in the NL this season playing for the Padres. Since moving to Anaheim, he's collected 9 saves with a 1.50 ERA.
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Tags: Allen Webster, Baseball, Boston, Boston Red Sox, Junichi Tazawa, Mike Napoli, MLB, Yoenis Cespedes