Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
BOSTON – Rick Porcello, the American League Cy Young Award winner last year, will have a more modest goal when the Boston Red Sox host the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series. A 22-game winner in 2016, Porcello attempts to avoid becoming the first pitcher in the major leagues to reach 10 losses this season.
Normally, the struggling Porcello’s start would draw scrutiny but it will be FAR overshadowed by Friday’s pregame ceremony to retire the number of slugger David Ortiz, who called it quits after the 2016 season. Boston could use Ortiz’s booming bat in its lineup as the team ranks tied for 27th in the league in home runs (70) and 24th in slugging percentage (.414). The Angels have played .500 ball in 20 games in June, but they pushed across 22 runs in taking two of three at Yankee Stadium to open their eight-game road trip. Los Angeles DH Albert Pujols, a .324 hitter in 38 games versus Boston, had a pair of RBI singles in Thursday’s 10-5 win over the Yankees.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN West (Los Angeles), NESN (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH Alex Meyer (3-3, 3.52 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (3-9, 5.05)
Meyer was masterful against Kansas City in his last outing, matching a season high with nine strikeouts while blanking the Royals on two hits over six innings. The 6-9 Meyer has not allowed more than three earned runs in seven straight starts, although he failed to get through five innings in two of them. Meyer keeps the ball in the park, giving up three homers overall and one in his last six turns.
Porcello took it on the chin again last time out, giving up seven runs on 10 hits over six innings at Houston to drop to 0-4 over his last five starts. The New Jersey native has yielded at least eight hits in eight consecutive starts and surrendered six home runs over his last four turns. Porcello is 5-6 with a bloated 6.26 ERA against the Angels and must be wary of Pujols (8-for-23) and Kole Calhoun (6-for-12).
1. Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts is 8-for-16 with three homers and seven RBIs during a four-game hitting streak.
2. Angels OF Cameron Maybin homered and scored three times Thursday, extending his on-base streak to 26 games.
3. Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia, who missed the three-game series at Kansas City, hopes to return to the lineup Friday.