The Boston Red Sox will look to extend their advantage in the AL East when they continue a three-game road series on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels. These teams are scheduled to meet in the series opener late on Monday night after the time of publishing. Boston has a 4.5-game lead in the division at 53-32, while Los Angeles is in fourth place in the AL West at 42-41.
This is the final 2021 regular season series between these two clubs after Boston took two of three at Fenway Park in mid-May.
Red Sox win tense series in Oakland
The Red Sox are continuing to prove a last place finish in 2020 was a fluke, as they own the best record in the AL after taking two of three against the Oakland Athletics in a possible playoff preview. While the offense has been the biggest factor in Boston’s success, the rotation allowed just two combined runs against the tough Oakland offense over the weekend, including a 1-0 shutout win in Sunday’s rubber game. Veteran Martin Perez will take the ball in Monday’s series opener against another loaded offense in Los Angeles.
Boston has been a strong bet for gamblers, as it is 48-37 against the spread and up a big amount on the money line with a far better record than most were projecting in the preseason. Overs are 39-43-3 for the Red Sox after two of the three games against Oakland went under the betting total.
It has been another strong season for the Boston offense, which is averaging 5.11 runs per game with a 0.762 OPS to rank fourth in baseball. Improved pitching has been the key behind the turnaround this season, as the Red Sox are slightly above average with a 3.99 collective ERA while allowing just 1.02 home runs per nine innings.
The rotation will turn over on Tuesday night for No. 1 starter Nathan Eovaldi, who is having a strong season with a 9-4 record and 3.41 ERA in 17 outings. Eovaldi tossed seven scoreless innings against the Kansas City Royals last time out, allowing five hits and no walks while striking out six. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts is headed to the All-Star game with a .326/.388/.540 line, 13 homers and 48 RBI to lead Boston’s potent offense.
Boston is healthier than the majority of teams across baseball, as catcher Kevin Plawecki is the only position player on the IL due to a strained hamstring. Starting pitcher Chris Sale should complete his Tommy John rehab in the coming weeks and join the team. Reliever Ryan Brasier has been cleared to resume baseball activities after dealing with a strained calf and concussion problems all season.
Angels hope to stay above .500 with series win over Red Sox
The Angels entered the weekend with just one walk-off win on the season, but now have three after sweeping the Boston Orioles, including a rally on Sunday for their sixth victory in seven games. Los Angeles has put up a total of 45 runs during the seven-game hot streak, as a loaded offense is doing enough to make up for shaky pitching even with superstar Mike Trout still out with an injury. Jose Suarez will make his first start of the season to open the series against Boston after pitching well out of the bullpen so far.
It hasn’t been a profitable season for the Angels gambling wise, as they are 37-46 against the spread and still remain down on the money line even while winning more games outright over the last few weeks. Overs are a strong 51-32 for the Angels, with four of their last five games going over the betting total.
Los Angeles has one of the most prolific offenses in the Majors to date with an average of 4.95 runs per game and a 0.758 OPS. It’s been a different story for Angels pitching, which is in the bottom five in baseball with a 5.01 ERA while walking 4.10 opposing batters per nine innings.
MVP frontrunner Shohei Ohtani will be on the mound Tuesday night against the Red Sox, looking to bounce back from the worst start of his career last week against the New York Yankees when he lasted just 0.2 innings allowing seven runs on two hits and four walks while striking out one. In addition to leading the Majors with 31 home runs, Ohtani has a 3.60 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 60 innings pitched. Jared Walsh has also been a key player for the Los Angeles offense with a 0.907 OPS, 20 homers and 61 RBI.
Trout is hoping to return from a strained calf shortly after the upcoming All-Star break. The Angels outfield is further shorthanded, as Justin Upton is dealing with lower back tightness and Dexter Fowler is out for the season with a torn ACL. Reliever Luke Bard underwent season-ending hip surgery in May.
- 9-1 in its last 10 games overall.
- 5-1 in its last six games against a team with a winning record.
- 9-2 in its last 11 road games against a right-handed starter.