Mike Trout spent All-Star week firmly planting himself at the front of the conversation as the best player in baseball while drawing universal praise from his peers and winning his second straight MVP Award in the Midsummer Classic. Trout will get back to the business of helping his team advance toward the playoffs when the Los Angeles Angels open the second half by hosting the Boston Red Sox at 10:05 p.m. Friday.
The Angels finished out the first half by winning 11 of their last 14 games to vault over the Houston Astros and into first place in the American League West. Trout and fellow All-Star Albert Pujols, who share the AL lead with 26 home runs apiece, power an offense that put up an average of 7.2 runs in the nine games prior to the break.
The Red Sox missed a big opportunity to gain ground in the AL East when they dropped two of three to the New York Yankees last weekend and remain in last place, five games under .500 (42-47). Wade Miley will get right back to work after suffering the loss in Sunday’s finale while the Angels will counter with fellow lefty C.J. Wilson.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox left-hander Wade Miley (8-8, 4.80 ERA) vs. Angels lefty C.J. Wilson (7-7, 3.83).
Miley was rocked for six runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Yankees and has allowed 13 runs and 21 hits in 17 frames over his last three turns. That comes on the heels of a strong three-start stretch in which the Louisiana native surrendered a total of four runs. Miley’s best effort of the season came against Los Angeles on May 24, when he scattered one run and four hits over eight innings in a win.
Wilson enjoyed a run of three straight quality starts into the All-Star break but took a loss at Seattle on Saturday, when he was reached for three runs on five hits and four walks in 6 2/3 frames. The 34-year-old did not complete seven frames in any of his last four starts and issued a total of 11 walks in that span. Wilson was reached for four runs on seven hits and three walks over six innings to suffer a loss at Boston on May 23.
NOTES: Red Sox All-Star utilityman Brock Holt stole a base and scored while pinch running for Trout in the Midsummer Classic before striking out against Cincinnati lefty Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning. … Trout is 11-for-23 with five home runs, 10 RBIs and eight runs scored in the last six games. … Boston took two of three from Los Angeles on May 22-24, winning the final two of the series by a combined 14-4.