Friday, June 2, 2023

MLB Preview: Boston Red Sox (26-22) at Los Angeles Angels (26-23)


STATE OF THE SOX: The Red Sox have lost back-to-back games following a 4-game winning streak from 4/29-5/6. The Sox rank 9th in MLB in win % (26-22, .542)… Their record would rank no lower than 3rd in any other division, including 1st place in both the AL Central and NL Central.

Rk. Team W-L Pct. GB

  1. Baltimore 31-16 .660 +3.0
  2. Houston 28-19 .596 –
  3. New York-AL 29-20 .592 –
  • Boston 26-22 .542 -2.5
  • Los Angeles-AL 26-23 .531 -3.0

YESTERDAY’S NEWS: The Red Sox lost yesterday’s series opener at LAA, 2-1…Tanner Houck allowed 1 run over 6.0 IP with 8 SO (3 H, 2 BB, HB).
Connor Wong (1-for-3) doubled to lead off the 6th inning, then scored the Sox’ only run on an RBI single from Masataka Yoshida (2-for-4).

UPS AND DOWNS: The Red Sox have been held to 1 run and 2 XBH in their last 23 offensive innings, after scoring 31 runs with 19 XBH in their previous 34 offensive innings. The Sox have scored 1 or 0 runs in back-to-back games for the 3rd time this season (also 4/4-5 and 5/14-15).

Dates Record AVG OPS Runs/Game
3/30-4/13 5-8 .235 .731 5.5
4/14-5/6 16-6 .295 .840 6.2
5/7-22 5-8 .245 .703 4.0

SOX & ANGELS: The Red Sox have lost their last 2 games vs. LAA after winning the first 3 meetings of the season. The Sox are 6-3 in their last 9 games against the Halos, and 20-11 vs. LAA since the start of 2018. The Sox have won 3 of their last 4 series at Angel Stadium of Anaheim since the start of 2018, going 9-5 at the venue during that span.

BEST WESTERN: Since the start of 2022, the Red Sox are 30-11 against AL West opponents (5-3 this season). The Sox are 12-5 at AL West ballparks from 2022-23, outscoring opponents 68-46 in those games. Boston’s 2.53 ERA (42 ER/149.2 IP) in AL West ballparks since the start of 2022 is the lowest mark in MLB (min. 5 games).

TOUGH TEST: The Red Sox are tied for 1st in MLB in strength of schedule this season (also OAK and TOR). The Red Sox are 15-15 (.500) against teams with a .500 winning percentage or better…Their 15 wins are tied with NYY for 3rd most in MLB (TB-18, BAL-16). Each of the Sox’ next 2 opponents have a winning record: LAA (26-23) and ARI (28-20).

ROAD TRIPPING: The Red Sox are 2-2 so far on their 9-game, 11-day road trip to SD (2-1), LAA (0-1), and ARI (3 G). The trip is tied for the ox’ longest of the season by days…It is their 2nd-longest trip of the season by games played (10 games in 11 days from 8/14-24).

SERIES BUSINESS: The Red Sox are 10-4-1 in series play, including 8-2-1 in their last 11 series and 5-1-1 in their last 7. The Sox have alternated series results on the road this season (W, L, W, L, W, T, W): 3-0 at DET, 0-4 at TB, 2-1 at MIL, 1-2 at BAL, 2-1 at PHI, 1-1 at ATL, 2-1 at SD.

HELP IS ON THE WAY: Garrett Whitlock tossed 4.2 scoreless innings in a rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Worcester against Lehigh Valley (4 H, BB, 4 SO, 79 pitches). Whitlock also started for the WooSox last Tuesday and allowed 1 R in 4.0 IP (5 H, 4 SO, 49 pitches).

PITCHING IN: Red Sox pitchers have allowed 3 ER or fewer in each of their last 5 games, posting a 2.09 ERA and .158 opponent AVG in that span (43.0 IP, 10 ER, 24-for-152). The Red Sox have allowed 6 hits or fewer in 5 consecutive games for just the 3rd time in the last 30 seasons (also September 2016 and August 2013). In their last 6 games, Sox relievers have allowed 4 ER (1.77 ERA) and held opponents to a .129 AVG (9-for-70).

START ME UP: Red Sox starting pitchers have tossed at least 5.0 innings in 23 of their last 25 games, including 10 of their last 11. Sox starters posted a 3.45 ERA in the last 11 games (23 ER/60.2 IP), after entering that span with a 5.71 ERA. They have allowed 2 runs or fewer over 5.0+ IP in 4 of the last 5 games (see below).

Pitcher (Date) Dec. IP H R ER SO
Brayan Bello (5/17) W 5.0 3 1 1 7
James Paxton (5/19) W 6.0 5 1 1 5
Chris Sale (5/20) W 7.0 3 2 2 8
Corey Kluber (5/21) L 2.1 3 5 1 1
Tanner Houck (5/22) ND 6.0 3 1 1 8
TOTALS: 3-1 2.05 ERA .179 AVG (17-for-95)

RUNNIN’ RED SOX: The Red Sox lead MLB in SB% (88.2%, 30-for-34), after ranking 22nd in 2022 (72.2%, 52-for-72). They have been successful in their last 4 SB attempts.

SLUGGING SOX: The Red Sox lead MLB in doubles (106) and rank top 5 in runs (4th, 259), hits (4th, 437), XBH (3rd, 167), AVG (4th, .266), OBP (5th, .335), SLG (5th, .440), and OPS (4th, .775). Since 4/14, the Sox rank 2nd in MLB in AVG (.277) and OBP (.342), and rank 3rd in hits (333). The Red Sox have scored 5+ runs in 27 games, 5th most in MLB (TB-30, LAD-30, TEX-28, BAL-28). The Sox have recorded 10+ hits in 20 games, tied for 5th most in MLB (TEX-25, TB-24, STL-22, LAA-21).

Stat MLB Rank
259 runs 4th
437 hits 4th
106 doubles 1st
167 XBH 3rd
20.5 SO% 5th
Stat MLB Rank
.266 AVG 4th
.335 OBP 5th
.440 SLG 5th
.775 OPS 4th
109 wRC+ 8th

SOX STRIKEOUTS: Red Sox batters have struck out 376 times, 2nd fewest in the AL and 5th fewest in MLB. The Sox struck out 10+ times in each of their 6 games vs. TB and ATL (11.2 SO/game) but have done so just 5 times in their other 42 games (7.4 SO/game).

DON’T START WITH US: Starting pitchers have completed at least 6.0 innings in just 9 starts against the Red Sox this season, fewest of any team in MLB. Starters have lasted fewer than 4.0 innings in 13 starts vs. BOS this season, most in MLB. Starting pitchers are 15-17 with a 5.94 ERA vs. BOS.

SOX SPLITS: The Red Sox are 14-17 when facing a righthanded starter, compared to 12-5 against left-handers. Right-handed starting pitchers have a 5.33 ERA vs. BOS, while left-handed starters have a 7.36 ERA. The Sox rank 2nd in MLB in AVG vs. RHP (.266). Against LHP, the Sox rank 2nd in the AL in hits (136), XBH (54), BB (58), and TB (218).

ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD: The Red Sox’ outfielders lead MLB in AVG (.302), OBP (.371), hits (170), doubles (48), XBH (69), and runs (102)…They rank 2nd in RBI (95; TB-99). In 2022, Sox outfielders batted .243 with a .301 OBP, .375 SLG, and .676 OPS.

2023 3-1 4.45 6 6 28.1 14 5 12 31 1.59 .295
CAREER 5-9 4.62 19 17 85.2 44 6 39 86 1.72 .309

Has allowed 6 ER over 21.0 IP in his last 4 starts (2.59 ERA), after giving up 8 ER over 7.1 IP in his first 2 starts (9.82 ERA). His lone appearance against the Angels came on 4/17, his season debut (L, 2.2 IP, 5 R, 8 H, 1 BB, 5 SO). Turned 24 on 5/17…The only other Sox pitchers this century to start 15+ games before turning 24 are Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Eduardo Rodriguez. In his MLB career, opponents are 16-for-84 (.190) with 13 singles and 2 doubles against his changeup (6-for-27 with 12 SO in 2023). Only 6 of the 85 batted balls against him in 2023 have been barrelled (7.1%).


LEADING OFF: Today, the Angels play the fifth (3-1) of nine games on a homestand against the Minnesota Twins (2-1), Boston Red Sox (1-0; May 22-24) and Miami Marlins (May 26-28)…Halos went 3-4 on last road trip to Cleveland (1-2) and Baltimore (2-2)…LAA was 2-4 on last homestand against the Rangers (1-2) and Astros (1-2).

2023: 26-23 (through 49 games)
2022: 27-23
2021: 22-28
2020: 20-30
2019: 22-28
Best: 33-17 (1989)
Worst: 16-34 (1969)

MOST BEAUTIFUL SOUND I EVER HEARD: Jaime Barria made his first start of the season last night after beginning the year in the Angels bullpen and worked 5.0 scoreless innings…Since April 8, he leads the Majors (min. 15 IP) with a 0.37 ERA (24.1 IP – 1 ER).

ESTÉVEZ ENDING: This season, Carlos Estévez is pitching to a 1.23 ERA (22 IP – 3 ER) and has converted all 12 of his save opportunities (the 12 saves are a new career high)…He is the first Angels pitcher to convert his first 12 save opportunities of a season since Ernesto Frieri in 2012 and is looking to become the first Halos closer to convert his first 13 save chances since Troy Percival had 16 straight successful save opportunities to begin the 2001 season.

LEAGUE LEADER: Shohei Ohtani, leads the Majors in opponent batting average (.142), and ranks third in strikeouts (80) and is fourth in WHIP (0.90).

VS. BOSTON: Today is the sixth (2-3) of seven matchups this season between the Angels and Red Sox…Halos lost three of four games at Fenway Park earlier this season from April 14-17; LAA lost first three games of series before winning the series finale on Patriots’ Day…Boston has won or tied the season series vs. Angels in each of the last four years.

SERIES STATS: After winning two of three vs. Twins in last series and taking opening game from Red Sox yesterday, Halos are looking to win consecutive series for the first time since beating Royals (April 21-23) and A’s (April 24-27) last month.

PLAY FROM AHEAD: Halos have held leads in 40 of 49 games played this year.

THE MICK: Mickey Moniak has hits in all seven of his starts for the Angels this season, including two leadoff homers and six total extra-base hits…He’s one of seven players in the Majors with multiple leadoff HR this year…On May 13 at Cleveland, became the first player in MLB history to make his season debut on his birthday and hit a leadoff home run.

DINGER DUO: Thursday at Baltimore was the 25th time that Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani homered in the same game…It’s the fourth highest total among duos in Angels history (club record is 48 games – Trout/ Pujols).

LEAD ASSISTANT: Hunter Renfroe is tied for second in the American League with five outfield assists this season…Since 2017, his 61 outfield assists lead the Majors (Starling Marte is second with 52 assists).

SINGLE HANDED: Gio Urshela has hit 43 singles this year plus six extra-base hits (five doubles & one home run)…Urshela ranks second, behind Toronto’s Bo Bichette (46), for the American League lead in singles… Since May 5, Urshela has hits in 14 of 16 games with a PA and is batting .351 (20/57) in that span.

ON THE BOARD: Halos have not been shut out since Aug. 21, 2022 at Detroit…Current streak of 90 games without being shut out is the longest active streak in the Majors and is tied for the fourth-longest streak in Angels history (also had a 90 game streak in 1995).

‘PEN PALS: The Angels bullpen is pitching to a 3.57 ERA (179 IP – 71 ER) this season, which is the seventh-best ERA in the Majors.

NET-OW: Zack Neto has been hit by eight pitches this season, which is tied for second-most in the Majors… Since 1901, Neto’s seven HBP through his first 15 career games are the most in MLB…He also was the first player in Angels history to be hit a pitch in four consecutive games (April 18-21).

ALL OVER THE INFIELD: Gio Urshela is one of six players in the Majors to appear at all four infield positions this season…He has made 16 starts at first base, 16 starts at third base, eight at shortstop and one at second base.

LATE COMEBACKS: Halos have three wins this season when trailing after eight innings, which matches the Angels total from each of the last two seasons…Last time LAA had more than three wins in a season when trailing after eight frames was 2017 (5).

UNEARNED: Angels have allowed 26 unearned runs this season, which is the tied for the second-most in the Majors (Colorado has allowed 28 unearned runs)… Halos have committed 32 fielding errors this season, which is tied with Boston and Atlanta for the most in the Majors.

RECENT ROSTER MOVES: Sunday, the Angels reinstated LHP Aaron Loup from the injured list and selected the contracts of RHP Reyes Moronta (#52) and RHP Jacob Webb (#71)…In corresponding moves, the Angels optioned RHP Jimmy Herget, RHP Andrew Wantz and RHP Zack Weiss to Triple-A Salt Lake.

MARLINS ON DECK: Following the current series vs. Boston and an off day on Thursday, the Angels will conclude the homestand with a three-game series against the Miami Marlins…Last season, Halos won three of four games against Miami…LAA is 12-7 all-time vs. Miami (6-2 at Angel Stadium).

2-2, 6.14 ERA
Holding right-handers to a .237 (14/59) average this season

  • TODAY’S GAME: Making seventh start of the season and fourth at home…Is in fourth Major League season with Angels.
  • HE’S BACK: Made season debut on April 12 vs. Washington; first Major league appearance July 2, 2021… Missed Angels first 11 games of the season on injured list with a left groin strain…Spent entire 2022 season and final two months of 2021 season on IL with a low back stress reaction.
  • OVER SEVEN HITS: Allowed career high nine hits in last start on Wednesday at Baltimore…Was first time allowing more than seven hits in his career…Streak of 46 straight starts with seven-or-fewer hits allowed was second-longest in Angels history (Rickey Clark had a 50 game streak between the 1967-1971 seasons).
  • CURRENT TRENDS: Allowed three-or-fewer runs in each of first three starts this season, then yielded five runs in each of next two starts, before allowing three runs in last start.
  • LAST TIME OUT: Took the loss in last start on May 17 at Baltimore after tossing 5.1 innings and allowing three earned runs on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts…Marked second consecutive losing decision after winning each of two previous starts.
  • STREAK SNAPPED: Had career-best streak of three consecutive winning decisions snapped on May 10 vs. Houston…The streak dated back to June 9, 2021 and included wins in consecutive starts this season on April 25 and May 4.
  • VS. BOSTON: Today is second career start vs. Red Sox…Is 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA (6 IP – 2 ER) and seven strikeouts following only previous game on May 14, 2021 at Fenway Park.
  • AT ANGEL STADIUM: In 27 career games (25 starts) at Angel Stadium, is 10-6 with a 4.90 ERA (128.2 IP – 70 ER)…This season, is 1-1 with a 6.59 ERA (13.2 IP – 10 ER) following first three starts at home…As a starter, is 9-5 with a 4.56 ERA (124.1 IP – 63 ER) at home…Has allowed three-or-fewer runs in 18 of 25 home starts (nine are quality starts).
  • THAT’S RIGHT: Through six starts this year, has held righties to a .237 average (14/59) compared with a .333 (14/59) opponent average against left-handers.
  • GETTING AHEAD: Recorded a first pitch strike on 67.9% (89/131) of his batter faced this season.
  • UNFAMILIAR FOES: In his career as a starter, has held opponents to a .208 average (76/365) in opposing batter’s first plate appearances of a game.
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