BOSTON — The Los Angeles Angels enter a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park as losers of five of their last six games, including a sweep by the lowly Astros and an extra-innings loss to the Cubs on Wednesday. So, perhaps a rainout on Friday was exactly what the underperforming Angels needed.
With a scheduled day off on Thursday, the rainout gives them two consecutive days off, a rare and highly valued occurrence on the baseball calendar.
The Angels have won their last eight games against the Red Sox, including the last six at Fenway Park.
In contrast to the Angels, the Red Sox are red hot. They have won four of their least five, and are 9-4 in their last 13 games, hitting .360 in June. Most recently, they took two of three from the Rangers, who had entered the three-game series with the best winning percentage in the American League.
With the rainout, the Angels and Red Sox will play a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, along with an afternoon game on Sunday. In the first game on Saturday, Angels’ right-hander Tommy Hanson is expected to start, opposed by Boston left-hander Felix Doubront.
In six starts this season, Hanson has posted a record of 2-2 with an ERA of 4.19.
This will be just his second start since coming off the restricted list after missing almost four weeks because of a death in the family. Hanson is looking for his first win since April 19, when he beat the Tigers by pitching six scoreless innings. He took the loss in his last outing, giving up five runs, including four earned, in 6 1/3 innings on May 31 against the Astros.
This will be his second career start against the Red Sox. He earned the win in his only other start against Boston, on June 28, 2009, at Turner Field while with the Braves, when he pitched six shutout innings, giving up just two hits.
Doubront, 4-2 with a 4.88 ERA in 10 games, including nine starts, will be making his first career start against the Angels. He has made one career relief appearance against the Angels, giving up two hits and a walk with a strikeout in one scoreless inning at Fenway on Aug. 17, 2010.
In the nightcap Boston right-hander Clay Buchholz is scheduled to be opposed by Angels lefty C.J. Wilson.
At 8-0 with an American League-best ERA of 1.62, Buchholz has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball this season. He was credited with a complete-game shutout in a rain-shortened game in his most recent outing, Sunday night at Yankee Stadium, when he allowed just two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in five innings.
Wilson (4-4, 3.93) is 5-1 with three saves and a blown save in 19 appearances, including seven starts, in his career against the Red Sox. In his last six starts he is 1-4 with an ERA of 3.83, giving up 22 runs, including 17 earned runs, over 40 innings. In that span, though, he has recorded 41 strikeouts against 10 walks.
MLB NOTES: Boston CF Jacoby Ellsbury (groin) missed five games but returned to the lineup and went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles on Thursday. He has multiple hits in five of his last six contests. … Los Angeles has taken eight straight from the Red Sox, including six in a row at Fenway Park. … Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia has hit safely in 10 straight games. … The Arizona Diamondbacks announced that right-handed pitcher Daniel Hudson re-tore an elbow ligament and are exploring all medical options. Hudson, 26, initially tore the ligament last July and had Tommy John surgery to repair it. However, he was forced to leave a minor league rehab start with elbow stiffness earlier this week. He will likely require a second Tommy John surgery. … The Pittsburgh Pirates are expected to call up their top prospect, right-hander Gerrit Cole, to make his major league debut next week, CBS Sports reported. With left-hander Wandy Rodriguez unlikely to make his next start on Tuesday because of inflammation in his pitching forearm, Cole is likely to get the call against the visiting San Francisco Giants.