Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox split the first two games in Anaheim. The series will end Wednesday at 4 pm. ET when the Angels and lefty Andrew Heaney face Eduardo Rodriguez and Red Sox
Red Sox have won ten of their 12 previous games. Wednesday is their last road game before the All Star break next week.
Angels’ starting pitching has been a problem and is one of the main reasons the team is in fourth place in American League West. Their actual performance has been less than expected for some of their arms.
Heaney’s peripherals are decent, but his hard hit rate as well as other batted ball allowed numbers against a lineup like the Red Sox is concerning.
Boston Remains Elite In All Phases
Boston’s lineup is one reason it is among the top AL teams, but the Red Sox are five games ahead of the pack because of its pitching staff.
Eduardo Rodriguez doesn’t appear to be an elite pitcher, or even a great one at that. However, the batted ball numbers show that he has been unlucky. His xERA of 3.31, which is more than two runs less than his 5.42 run total, is below 3.50 in FIP and xFIP, and his strand rate of 7% is lower than any year in his career.
Rodriguez’s hitters have been unsustainablely good with runners on base against him, and it is unlikely that this trend will continue. His actual numbers should be closer to his expectations. Rodriguez’s allowed xwOBA is 50 points lower that his actual wOBA — only eight pitchers have been less fortunate with batted ball data than the outcomes.
Although Boston isn’t as strong against left-handed pitching as L.A., the Red Sox remain among the top-10 lineups on wRC+ and are the more healthy team overall.
Can the Angels Survive the Injury Storm?
They have been a hammer on left-handed pitching this season. In fact, they have the third highest wRC+ against lefties. They are in the middle of the pack for BABIP against southpaws, and don’t strike out as many (28th). L.A. has the third-highest line drive rate, and the third-highest hard hit rates.
The Angels are suffering from injuries, including those of Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Anthony Rendon. These three are all left-handed pitchers who do well against the Angels. The current lineup isn’t as strong as the one that put up such impressive numbers against southpaws.
Heaney’s strand rate is very low, which has a negative impact on his ERA. However, he has also given up a lot of hard contact and was punished for it. Heaney will likely struggle against a Red Sox lineup ranked second in line drive rate, seventh in barrel percentage, and fifth in defense.
Red Sox-Angels Pick
Given the Angels’ weaker lineup, and Rodriguez’s inevitable positive decline with runners on base, the Red Sox should be a bigger favorite. The Red Sox did not use their highest leverage arm on Tuesday, and they have a day off Thursday. Alex Cora therefore has all options in the bullpen for a Sox team that is trying to protect a lead late.
Heaney has been subject to more harsh contact than he was earlier this year. Boston should put pressure on the Angels defense to make plays, and keep them in the game.Last Updated on October 2, 2021