The Boston Red Sox (56-70) finish up their series with the Los Angeles Angels (75-50) looking to avoid getting swept. Boston got off to a 3-0 lead early in last night's game, only to see the Angels come charging back with eight unanswered runs.
Last night's victory for the Angels was overshadowed by a devastating injury to starting pitcher Garrett Richards, who crumbled to the ground while running to cover first base in the second inning and had to be carted off the field. It had to have been a disheartening feeling for the Angels to watch their ace exit early with what they are now calling a "significant injury" to his left patellar tendon. An MRI this afternoon will reveal more about the extent of the injury, but it certainly didn't look good.
Richards has been one of the league's best pitchers this season, with a 2.61 ERA and 4.4 WAR. If he's lost for the rest of the season it will be a big blow to LA's championship aspirations. The downgrade from one of the league's best to the replacement level option the pitching-thin Angels will be forced to turn to could cost them a couple of wins down the stretch, which could end up being all it takes to cost them the division. If they are forced into a single-elimination Wild Card game, they can't feel good about sending any of their other options out there to face another team's ace.
- Rubby De La Rosa (4-4, 3.79 ERA) gets the start for Boston. He's coming off one of his worst starts of the season (4 innings, 6 runs), but before that he held the Angels to 1 run over 7 innings when facing them in Anaheim. He also tied a season high with 8 strikeouts in that game.
- David Ortiz hit his 30th home run last night, tying him for 4th most in the majors this season. He's matched last season's total already and has now hit 30+ home runs 8 times in his career. That ties him with Ted Williams for the most 30+ HR seasons in Red Sox history. He also still leads the majors with 93 RBI and will soon close in on his 2nd straight and 8th career 100+ RBI season.
- Allen Craig has been activated from the disabled list and is in the lineup tonight as the DH. He says he's ready to play the field when needed, but the team likely wants to ease him back in by getting him some at-bats without having to worry about how his foot holds up in the outfield. Alex Hassan has been sent back to Pawtucket to make room for Craig.
- Ortiz is out of the lineup tonight to allow Craig to DH. He joins Mike Napoli (back) and Will Middlebrooks (hamstring) on the bench to start the night.
- Matt Shoemaker (11-4, 3.84 ERA) will be on the mound for LA. He's been in and out of the rotation this season yet still has earned double-digit wins. A couple of those wins have come in relief, including one against Boston when he closed out the 19-inning marathon earlier this month. It's the only time the rookie has ever faced the Red Sox, but he tossed three perfect innings, while striking out 4.
- Mike Trout may lead the Angels in just about every offensive category, but Albert Pujols has now pulled ahead in hits by 1. His 137 hits this season ties him for 13th most in the league and he's been making them count, with 23 HR (11th in the AL) and 32 doubles (6th). After dropping off to a career worst season last year, Pujols has bounced back to post a 3.1 WAR that is already double what he had last season.
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