Welcome to the Easy Street section of the Angels schedule. As I mentioned yesterday, they basically play the A’s and then nobody else who is any good from now through September 14th. Time for the Angels to get hot again. If not, they best start thinking about how to make sure to win the Wild Card coin flip game.
LAST TIME ON ANGELS VS. RED SOX…
All-time, the Angels suck against Boston at 289-330. And that doesn’t even count there many post-season failures against the Chowds. Things have been a bit better of late though with the Halos sweeping the Sox in 2012 and splitting with them in 2013. This year, they haven’t played each other yet, which is nice because now the Angels get to knock out all six games against a Boston team that has been depleted by their trade deadline wheelings and dealings.
GHOST OF ANGELS PAST
There is no sense pussyfooting around this one. The Ghost for this series is Mike Napoli. It will always be Mike Napoli. In fact, I very nearly called this segment of the previews “The Napoli Index.” That’s how much letting him go will always haunt the Angels. Selling off a talented player like Napoli is one thing, his success against the Angels (1.180 OPS) is another, but the biggest thing will always be how much trading him for Vernon Wells set the franchise back and pushed the Rangers and Blue Jays forward. The Angels are only just now recovering and the Rangers have their own issues now, but we are all going to feel really silly if the Halos lose to Toronto in the Wild Card game. It was that opportunity to dump Wells on the Angels that gave Toronto the payroll flexibility to make the big trade with the Marlins that has put Toronto into playoff contender position. The Napoli-Wells trade. It is the gift that keeps on punching you in the nuts.
FRIDAY, 8/8: Jered Weaver vs. Allen Webster
There aren’t a lot of old Red Sox left, I guess. David Ortiz and Mike Napoli have both feasted off Weaver, but Pedroia has gotten owned. Nobody else really has much experience. Even Cespedes, which is weird since he has been in the AL West for a few years. Even with a trade-ravaged roster, there is plenty of pop left in the Boston lineup, so let’s hope Weaver has his command, otherwise it is going to be a long day for Angels fans and a short outing for Weaver.
Webster as never faced the Angels. Webster misses Mr. Papadapolis. I might have the wrong Webster on that second one.
SATURDAY, 8/9: Garrett Richards vs. Clay Buchholz
Richards hasn’t faced Boston much, but they’ve hit him hard in that limited experience. Of course, that was all before Richards got good. The only exception to that is Cespedes, but he’s hit Richards hard too. The big X-factor in this game will be how Richards bounces back physically from his first career complete game shutout in which he threw a career-high 122 pitches. I suspect he’ll be fine, but you never know.
Much like Buchholz’s overall career, it has been feast or famine against the Angels. Erick Aybar, Josh Hamilton and John McDonald can’t touch him, but just about everyone else has clobbered Clay. Considering his 6.20 ERA this year, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume the clobbering continues.
SUNDAY, 8/10: Hector Santiago vs. Rubby De La Rosa
Not a huge sample for Santiago. Not a good sample either. Digging into those elevated numbers, it seems that Santiago just walked everyone constantly. Cespedes has taken him deep twice, too. Yup, that sounds about right.
De La Rosa has faced the Angels for all of 11 plate appearances. Two of those ended in homers by Aybar and Kendrick, respectively.
Just as everyone thinks the sky is falling, the Angels will pull off a sweep.
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
Yoenis Cespedes is going to have another highlight reel gundown of an Angel runner. It will be embarrassing, mostly for Gary DiSarcina.