Angels-Red Sox Preview

The Associated Press

While the Los Angeles Angels try to maintain their spot atop the AL West, they also hope Josh Hamilton can become a major contributor to their playoff push.

After sitting the past two games, the struggling Hamilton is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday night against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Batting .266 with eight homers and 35 RBIs in 72 games, Hamilton has a hit in four straight contests but is 5 for 38 with no RBIs and 18 strikeouts in his last 10. Hamilton, who missed almost two months with a thumb injury, asked to sit out Sunday's 3-2 loss at Texas and did not play in a 4-2 victory at Boston on Monday.

''He's going to come out early Tuesday, work on a couple of things and hopefully be ready to go,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ''(Monday was) a day to kind of rest and hopefully move towards that goal.

"Talking to Josh, that's the definite plan. We're anticipating him playing.''

Though Scioscia feels Hamilton is plagued by a lack of confidence, the former MVP could turn things around at Fenway, where he hit .386 before going 2 for 14 there last season.

Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout each had two hits Monday as the Angels (73-50) won for the fifth time in six contests to increase their lead over Oakland to one-half game.

Calhoun is batting .415 with five doubles in the last nine games, while Trout is hitting .469 with five RBIs in seven career games at Boston.

Jered Weaver (13-7, 3.66 ERA) allowed two runs in seven innings of a 7-3 victory in his most recent start at Fenway, but that came in 2012. He gave up four, including a solo homer to Mike Napoli, in six innings of a 4-2 loss to Boston (56-68) on Aug. 8.

The right-hander, however, bounced back from that performance to yield two runs in six innings of a 4-3 victory over Philadelphia on Wednesday - two days after the birth of his daughter.

"I'm just trying to keep us in it," he told MLB's official website.

Though Napoli is 10 for 29 with three home runs and two doubles versus Weaver, David Ortiz is 1 for his last 9 against him.

Ortiz is batting .421 in the last five games for the Red Sox, who have dropped three of four following a four-game winning streak.

After Boston's Allen Webster (3-1, 4.79) gave up four runs and walked six in 2 2-3 innings of a 6-4 defeat to the New York Yankees in his second start of the season Aug. 2, he allowed two runs in 6 2-3 innings six days later while opposing Weaver at Anaheim.

The right-hander followed that effort by giving up three earned runs in six innings of a 9-4 victory over Houston on Thursday.

"Every outing, I learn something new each time," said Webster, who is 4-3 with a 7.02 ERA in 11 career starts since debuting with the Red Sox last season.

"Going out there now, watching video, finding the key points when I miss, being able to recognize those as soon as possible."

Calhoun went 2 for 3 against Webster earlier this month while Trout was 0 for 2 with a strikeout.

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