The Boston Red Sox are having a really special season. It may not seem like much, but the BoSox just beat Oakland in a series at the Coliseum for the first time since 2016. They’ll stay out on the West Coast now to fire up a series with the Los Angeles Angels beginning on Monday night.
They may be catching a break or may not be, as Jose Suarez takes his first turn through the rotation in place of Dylan Bundy for the Angels. The Red Sox will counter with Martin Perez as two teams clad in red take the field of battle in the series opener. The Angels are the slightest of favorites at Bovada Sportsbook with a total of 10.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox maintain a pretty tight stranglehold on the AL East Division as this series gets going. The lead is five in the win column and four in the loss column as the surprising Sox have kept it going for most of the year. They’ve hit well and pitched much better than anybody anticipated to lead what is arguably the strongest overall division in baseball.
Boston flew out west with a top-five offense in hand, as contributions up and down the lineup have given the Red Sox a balanced, productive unit that has been able to give a much improved pitching staff a lot of run support.
Martin Perez is one of those guys that has improved considerably. The veteran left-hander heads into this start with a 4.04 ERA and a 4.37 FIP. The Red Sox have really emphasized not allowing home runs this season. They’ll walk guys. They’ll give up some hits. But, the game plan is to avoid home runs at all costs. To this point, it has been a sound strategy.
Perez has an 11.8% HR/FB%, which is his lowest since 2016. It’s a number that has been on the rise, though, as Perez has a 7.27 ERA over his last five starts, including five homers against and a 25% HR/FB% in that span.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels don’t really hit a ton of home runs, but have had a really productive offense themselves this season. Even with Mike Trout on the injured list and Anthony Rendon in the midst of one of his worst offensive seasons, the Angels have found plenty of ways to score runs and have a top-10 offense.
The emergence of Jared Walsh and the Ruthian season from Shohei Ohtani, who cranked his 31st home run yesterday, have really carried this Angels offense throughout the year. Even with scoring nearly five runs per game, actually 4.95 to be exact, the Angels still have a -28 run differential and are lucky to be a team with a winning record.
Guys like Dylan Bundy are why the Angels pitching staff has struggled so much. Bundy lost his lunch and his rotation spot last time out, as he threw up behind the mound and got pulled in favor of Jose Suarez. Suarez came in and gavethe Angels 5.1 innings of relief work with just one run allowed. With Bundy dealing with velocity and command decreases, the Angels felt it would be better to roll with Suarez and let Bundy figure it out from the bullpen.
Suarez has a 1.98 ERA in 27.1 innings as a reliever this season. He has not made a start yet. The left-hander has 110.2 innings to his name at the MLB level with an ERA of 6.51 and a FIP of 6.14. We’ll see if this year’s improvements are legitimate or not for the 23-year-old southpaw.
Red Sox vs. Angels Free Pick
The Red Sox should be favored in this spot. While Martin Perez has not pitched well recently, his baseline sure seems to be higher than Suarez, who has been great in a relief role, but now has to throw with a deeper arsenal and stretch out his pitches a bit more. The total of 10 does seem fair here and if this is going to be a high-scoring game as projected, I would think that favors Boston.
Pick: Boston Red Sox