The Los Angeles Angels try to snap out of an offensive funk when they take on the host Boston Red Sox in the opening game of a three-game weekend series on Friday night. The series opener is set for a 7:10 pm ET first pitch at Fenway Park.
The Angels enter action having dropped two in a row, managing just a single run in each loss to the Houston Astros. Los Angeles is 16-20 and in the last place in the AL West, a half-game behind the fourth-place Texas Rangers and one game behind the third-place Seattle Mariners.
The Red Sox were able to snap a three-game losing streak with an 8-1 rout of the Oakland Athletics on Thursday. The win improved Boston’s record to 23-16 and left it in first place in the AL East by a 1½-game margin over the second-place Toronto Blue Jays.
The MLB odds have the Red Sox with a moneyline of -120, while the Angels are at +110. The over/under for this contest has been set at 9½ runs.
Needing Some Offense
The Angels enter tied for 11th in baseball with 164 runs, but they could not get anything going in the last two games against Houston. Los Angeles could get a boost with the possibility of third baseman Anthony Rendon returning to action for the first time since May 3. Rendon has three home runs and 11 RBI in 58 at-bats.
Designated hitter Shohei Ohtani is coming off an 0-for-4 game with two strikeouts, but he’s been one of the Angels’ most dangerous hitters. Ohtani has a team-high 10 home runs (tied for third in the majors) along with nine doubles, two triples, and 26 RBI.
Outfielder Mike Trout is always a threat to break out with a huge game, and he’s hitting .355. Trout is hitless in his last three games, taking Wednesday off, but has eight home runs and 18 RBI this season.
Right-hander Griffin Canning will be on the mound for Los Angeles. The 25-year-old is 3-2 this season with a 5.19 ERA, striking out 30 and walking 10 in 26 innings of work.
Canning was solid in picking up his second straight win last Friday against the Dodgers, going 5⅔ innings and allowing just one run on six hits while striking out four and walking three. He went 5⅓ innings in his previous start against Seattle, allowing no earned runs and just three hits while striking out nine.
Right-hander Nick Pivetta will go for his sixth win of the season when he gets the start. Pivetta is 5-0 with a 3.19 ERA, striking out 35 and walking 22 in 36⅔ innings.
Pivetta’s last start was Sunday, when he went six innings and held the Orioles to two runs on three hits, including a home run while striking out two and walking three. He earned a win for the third straight start, and the Red Sox are 6-1 in games he’s started.
It certainly helps a pitcher when he has two of the top RBI men in baseball on his team. J.D. Martinez leads the majors with 33 RBI, while Rafael Devers is tied for fourth in baseball with 30.
The offense was jumpstarted on Thursday by Michael Chavis, who hustled for a leadoff double in the first, scoring on Martinez’s RBI single to get Boston going.
“I think Michael set the tempo,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Chavis’s effort. “Three games in a row we didn’t do too much, and right away he hits a missile and he just kept running.”
The Red Sox also got a home run from Xavier Bogaerts in the inning. Bogaerts ranks fifth in baseball with a .348 batting average, adding eight home runs and 23 RBI.
Red Sox Take Opener
Boston woke up on Thursday night, and when the Red Sox’s offense gets rolling, it can be hard to stop. Los Angeles has been struggling to score runs, and even if Rendon is back, the Angels will have a hard time against Pivetta.
When making your MLB betting picks, take Boston to win the series opener on Friday.