Red Sox Kick Off West Coast Trip Against Angels: Fan Preview

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Following their first series win in nearly a month, the 62-67 Boston Red Sox will travel to the west coast for the last time in 2012 to face the 66-62 Los Angeles Angels from August 28 to 30. The Angels swept the Red Sox at Fenway Park last week as Red Sox pitchers allowed 26 runs in the three-game series.

In the aftermath of their trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Red Sox should be looking to give more playing time to recently recalled prospects Ryan Lavarnway, Jose Iglesias, and Ryan Kalish while auditioning players like Mauro Gomez and Pedro Ciriaco for roster spots in 2013. Out of necessity, Ciriaco and pitching prospect Junichi Tazawa have received regular playing time over the last month. In Tazawa's case, he's become one of the team's more effective relievers in that time; he has 25 strikeouts and only three walks with just five runs allowed in 28 innings.

Pitching matchups:

August 28: Clay Buchholz (4.47 ERA, 96/46 K/BB) vs. Jered Weaver (2.74 ERA, 113/33 K/BB)

Last week against the Angels, Buchholz allowed a season-high seven earned runs and failed to complete six innings for the first time since May. In the same game, Weaver held the Red Sox in check for seven innings, allowing just two runs. In 11 home starts, he's limited opponents to a .218 on-base percentage and only 14 extra-base hits.

August 29: Zach Stewart (6.00 ERA, 16/4 K/BB) vs. C.J. Wilson (3.83 ERA, 141/72 K/BB)

The Red Sox scratched Stewart from his originally scheduled AAA start and he's expected to make his return to the majors for the middle game of the series. After joining the Red Sox in the Kevin Youkilis trade, Stewart made 11 starts in Pawtucket and posted a 3.94 ERA, struck out 42, and walked 14 in 59.1 innings. In his matchup with the Red Sox last week, Wilson gave up six earned runs for the third time in five starts. In the month of August, he has a 8.78 ERA with 39 hits, 12 walks, and six home runs allowed in 26.2 innings.

August 30: Jon Lester (4.98 ERA, 139/50 K/BB) vs. Zack Greinke (3.87 ERA, 155/43 K/BB)

Through five August starts, Lester has a 3.12 ERA, 33/10 K/BB, and 2.70 groundball-to-flyball ratio in 34.2 innings. Leg cramps ended his last start in the eighth inning, but it looks like he won't have to miss any time. Greinke is coming off his best start since returning to the American League; he held the Detroit Tigers to one run over 7.2 innings on August 24. In six starts with the Angels, he has a 5.22 ERA, .355 opponents' OBP, and six home runs allowed over 39.2 innings.

Sources:

Baseball-Reference.com

Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, Yahoo! Sports

MLB Stats, ESPN.com

FanGraphs.com

William Menna is a native New Englander and longtime Boston sports fan.

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