The Boston Red Sox are out west in California in an attempt to break out of their mid-summer blues. The Orioles and Blue Jays are loving this, the Red Sox have lost five of their last six games. That doesn’t sound very Red Sox like at all. Today they will conclude their four-game series against the Angels, after already dropping two of three. The offense had difficulties to get going, and ultimately fell to the Angels by a score of 5-2. Prior to coming to Anaheim, the Red Sox were swept by the Tigers at home. So with the Red Sox stuck in a tail-spin, who is ahead in the American League East? No it isn’t the Orioles. The Blue Jays have overcome some early season struggles to wiggle their way to the top of the division. The Jays who are 59-45 on the season, are only 2 games back from the American League leading Texas Rangers. The Orioles are 0.5 games back of the Blue Jays in the division, and the Red Sox are sitting in 3rd, 2 games back.
This is going to make for the most exciting pennant race in baseball. Everything might be settled on the last day of the season. The Red Sox have a lot of time left to make amends, all teams fall into a dry spell, but with August here tomorrow the margin for error starts to get smaller and smaller. Boston will turn to Steven Wright this afternoon. Wright was rightfully voted to the All-Star Game, and probably should have started the game. He is the most effective knuckleballer in baseball today, overcoming R.A. Dickey for that honor. The Tigers absolutely destroyed the ball against him in his last start. He allowed 8 runs and 9 hits in only 4.1 innings. It goes without saying that it was his worst start of the year. He will face Tyler Skaggs today, who recently made his first start in the majors since 2014. Let’s finish up the weekend the right way, with a winning pick on the diamond.
Boston Red Sox vs. L.A. Angels
Steven Wright (12-5, 3.12 ERA) vs. Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Skaggs has only been around for one game this season. Well actually, he’s only been around for one start in the last two years. Thanks to Tommy John Surgery, Skaggs was sent to the shelf longer than he would have liked. He has some making up to do now. This is his fourth year pitching in the majors, posting a 5.83 ERA, 5.12 ERA, and 4.30 ERA. Thus, he was getting better in every ensuing year before the shoulder tear ruined the good mojo he had going for himself. Back and ready to prove himself, Skaggs shut the Royals down for no runs across 7 innings. He also allowed just 3 hits on the day.
Wright will be looking for rebound mode today after going off the rails against the Tigers. He had nice starts against the Twins and Yankees before getting pummeled by the Tigers. Some teams can hit knuckleballers, while others are completely lost at the plate. How has he faired against the Angels? They’ve mashed him in three starts, yielding a 6.61 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. The Angels got Wright for 4 runs a few weeks ago, now the Angels get to see him again.
Skaggs was looking good in the minors before coming to the Angels, posting a 1.60 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and 12 strikeouts per 9 innings. I see the Angels as favorites in this game, but the odds makers aren’t giving them the favorite odds. The Red Sox have gone 10-24 against the Angels in their last 34 matchups, and I think another loss is in store for them on Sunday.
PICK: ANGELS TO WIN +105