|Red Sox poised to sweep Angels|
The highly anticipated three-game series between the two hottest teams in the American League has turned into a one-sided affair.
The Boston Red Sox head into the series finale against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night with a chance to sweep after two impressive wins at Angel Stadium. Boston hasn't swept Los Angeles since winning a four-game series at Angel Stadium from April 21-24, 2011.
The Red Sox (15-2) have outscored the Angels 19-1 through the first two games, powering nine home runs.
"Those guys, if you miss some spots, they're going to swing the bats," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters Wednesday night. "We can too, but we haven't really pressured those guys the way we need to on the offensive side."
The two starters for Boston, David Price and Rick Porcello, came in with losing records against the Angels in their decorated careers, but neither had problems mowing through the batting order, and neither has the Boston bullpen.
Seven Red Sox pitchers have combined to strike out 18 batters in the series.
Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (1-0, 3.72 ERA) will take his turn in his third start of the season on Thursday. He'll not only try to follow up Price and Porcello, but his last performance as well.
Rodriguez allowed one run and five hits in six innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night, using a steady stream of fastballs to strike out eight and walk two in the 7-3 victory.
"Elevated fastball, that should be a weapon for him," Rod Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters after the game. "He keeps learning, but you can see the stuff is there. He's electric."
Rodriguez has faced the Angels once and produced the worst numbers of his four-year career in that outing at Angel Stadium on July 20, 2015.
Then a rookie, Rodriguez was up against a red-hot Los Angeles team that had won 13 of its past 16 games, and he allowed seven runs and six hits in 1 1/3 innings of the 11-1 loss. He gave up all seven runs in a span of eight pitches.
Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols each went 1-for-2 with a home run off Rodriguez.
Scioscia said he doesn't expect the offensive slump to last long.
"We're a much better offensive team than any time in the last number of years, so we have a lot of confidence we'll continue to swing the bats well," Scioscia said.
The Angels will send right-hander Nick Tropeano (1-0, 0.00) to the mound in his second regular-season outing since undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2016. Tropeano shut out the Kansas City Royals for 6 2/3 innings April 12 in a 7-1 victory. He allowed six hits, struck out six and walked two.
"Our bullpen's been used a lot and we have to get a little bit of length from our starters," Scioscia said.
Tropeano is a native New Yorker who went to West Islip High School and Stony Brook College on Long Island. He has never faced the Red Sox in 26 major league appearances (25 starts).
Boston first baseman Mitch Moreland faced Tropeano seven times as a member of the Texas Rangers and is 1-for-7 with a home run. The only other current Red Sox player to bat off Tropeano at the major league level is second baseman Eduardo Nunez, who is 0-for-4.