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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (12-8, 1st in AL West, 18th in IPR) @ Boston Red Sox (14-7, 1st in AL East, 4th in IPR)These two teams always seem to put together a few good games when they play. With both clubs starting to hit their stride and in first place in their respective divisions, this three-game set between the Angels and Red Sox promises to be a fun one. The Red Sox are the hottest team in the majors right now, having won nine of their last ten games. Manny Ramirez leads all major league hitters in WPA (2.19, half a point higher than the next best hitter, Pat Burrell) and is tied for the AL HR lead with 6, and David Ortiz is beginning to hit his stride (he looked especially good yesterday in the win over Texas, where he had 3 RBI on two doubles to left field; always good for a struggling hitter to go the other way). The Halos have been getting good starting pitching from Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana, both 3-0, which is incredibly important given the injuries to John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar. New center fielder Torii Hunter has been their best hitter thus far, posting a line of .319/.382/.580 with 4 HR and 11 RBI and second only to Manny in the American League in WPA. Before we get to the pitching matchups, let's take a quick look at the heroes and goats for each team thus far.
Heroes and Goats
Heroes and Goats is where we look at the best and worst performers on each team by Win Probability Added.
It's been a long road since Jered Weaver went 10-0 to start his major league career in 2006. He struggled with injury at the beginning of last year, but ended up putting together a solid year for the AL West champions, going 13-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 28 starts. Weaver has the talent to be a top-half of the rotation starter, but it seems that he thrives when he's not as much in the spotlight. Perhaps now that Saunders and Santana have stepped up to fill in the void left by the Lackey and Escobar injuries, Weaver can thrive. His last start was a tough-luck loss to the Royals, in which he went 6 innings and gave up only 3 runs (2 earned). Like many pitchers, he's much more effective when he can keep his GB/FB at 1.00 or higher -- his worst outing was against the Mariners on the 11th -- he gave up 5 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, with a 0.40 GB/FB ratio. His WHIP is respectable if not spectacular at 1.28, and he doesn't give up all that many home runs (0.72 per 9 innings). Jered is 0-2 in 4 career starts against the Red Sox; David Ortiz in particular picks on him, with 5 hits in 10 ABs, including 2 HR.
Boston ace Josh Beckett was supposed to get this start, but he was a late scratch with a stiff neck. The Red Sox recalled right hander David Pauley from AAA Pawtucket to make the start. Pauley is 0-2 with a 7.88 ERA in 3 career major league starts.
And that's it. Apparently the entire Red Sox clubhouse has come down with the flu, so I literally have no idea who's going to be pitching these games. Sorry for the aborted preview.