With the unfortunate postponement of Monday’s annual Patriots Day game, it is time to look on to the upcoming road trip for the Sox. Their first stop will be at Anaheim to face the red hot Angels. This was already going to be such an intriguing series, but it got even more exciting as we learned the new superstar Shohei Ohtani, will be facing Boston in the first game of this set. And who will he be facing? David Price.
The next two matchups will be Rick Porcello against Tyler Skaggs on Wednesday, and Erod versus Nick Tropeano on Thursday.
So far this year, 16 games in for the Angels, and 15 games in for the Red Sox, Boston is 13-2, while Anaheim is riding a 13-3 record. Both teams are also leading their divisions in the early going. So yeah, it doesn’t take an expert to realize these teams have been on fire to start the year.
Talent in Anaheim
Let’s now look into how these teams have gotten to where they are now. As far as the Angels go, their rotation led by Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, and some guy named Shohei Ohtani, has been solid. Their bullpen has also been strong led by Noe Ramirez (an old Red Sox), Blake Wood, Jose Alvarez, and their closer Keynan Middleton. Those four have combined to give up only three runs in 34 innings. Pretty decent.
The Angels offense led by Ohtani, Pujols, Justin Upton, and many who say is the greatest in the game, Mike Trout, have also been very productive in the early going. They’ll definitely be a challenge for the Red Sox rotation in this upcoming series.
Now remember when I mentioned that guy Shohei Ohtani, who’s in the rotation? Yeah, well not only can that guy pitch, but he can hit the ball 400 feet too. It’s really incredible to see what he’s done thus far. He had such high expectations going into the season. After the awful spring he had, everyone wrote him off. Some said he could start the season in AAA.
He has come right out of the gate and hit .367 with a .767 OBP. He’s also hit three home runs. Pretty good numbers right? You have to know that this all comes with him also starting two games and getting two wins. In his last start against Oakland, he took a perfect game into the seventh inning, striking out 12 and only giving up one hit. I’ll tell you right now this man does not look fun to hit against. He throws an easy 100 mph with a 68 mph curveball, along a nasty splitter. Just insane what this guy has done so farm and it will be fun to keep an eye on as time goes on.
No Bogaerts No Problem
The Red Sox starting pitching kept it going this weekend. After a huge series victory against New York last Thursday, the Red Sox took all three games this weekend against Baltimore. They got strong starts from Rodriguez, Velazguez, and five great innings from Chris Sale in the brutal cold weather.
I recently wrote a piece on how even though Xander Bogaerts is out for a little while, there is no need to worry. And I 100% stand by that. Tzu Wei Lin, who was called up after the Bogaerts injury, played all three games this weekend against the Orioles. In 12 AB’s he hit .500 with a .571 OBP. It seemed like every time he was up, he was hitting the ball hard somewhere. You also can’t forget the great defense he played throughout the series at shortstop.
This is the thing I’ve been most impressed with this Sox team so far. Even with Bogaerts, the hottest hitter on the team at the time getting hurt, the offense still thrived and they still found ways to win.
On Saturday, after a collision at home plate in the bottom of the first inning, Mookie was taken out of the game after the fourth inning. No big deal. JBJ just moved to right and made one of the most spectacular catches you’ll ever see.
Center field, right field, the moon.
Wherever you put JBJ, he will make an amazing catch. pic.twitter.com/FIlnMzIpl5
— MLB (@MLB) April 14, 2018
Mookie, along with Nunez, were out of Sunday’s game with the weather being ugly and Cora just being cautious. No big deal. Andrew Beninendi and Lin drove in a run apiece and won the game. This team has found ways to win even without key guys. The bullpen was also sneaky good in the Orioles series, which is another great sign.
So there is no doubt in my mind that this upcoming series is an incredible matchup and should be a fun next three games at Angel stadium in Anaheim. It all starts with David Price taking the bump against Shohei Ohtani on Tuesday night. You won’t want to miss this.