Tonight, the Red Sox will begin their longest West Coast trip of the season, making stops in Oakland and Los Angeles for two three-game series. It will be Boston’s second time facing the Angels and A’s, each time was at Fenway earlier in May. The A’s won two games at Fenway while the Red Sox were able to win their series against the Angels two games to one. Oakland has been one of the top teams in the AL, sitting only a game-and-a-half behind the AL West leading Houston Astros. LA meanwhile is struggling to stay above .500.
With this trip representing Boston’s big west coast trip, let’s take a look at the top players set to face-off against the Red Sox.
Matt Olsen, First Base, Oakland
Without Olsen, it’s hard to imagine Oakland would be in the top Wild Card spot right now. He is the only guy in the lineup hitting over .280 and is leading the team in almost every offensive category. His 2.8 WAR is the highest on the entire team. With 20 home runs halfway through the season, he is on pace to set a career-high. Olsen already hit one home run against the Sox earlier in May.
Cole Irvin, Starting Pitcher, Oakland
Pitching always seems to be Oakland’s strength. While Boston will avoid facing ace Sean Manaea, they will have to face another strong lefty in Cole Irvin. In his last start against San Francisco, Irvin tossed eight shutout innings while striking out eight and surrendering only three hits. With wins in his last two starts, Irvin hopes to keep his hot streak going.
Shohei Ohtani, Designated Hitter/Starting Pitcher, Los Angeles
The Angels have yet to announce their starters for their series against Boston, but there is a good chance the Sox will get their first look at the two-way phenom. Ohtani is coming off his worst of the season against the Yankees. New York scored seven runs in the first inning and he was pulled from the game without finishing the inning. His ERA now stands at 3.60. Despite the rough outing, Ohtani still leads the major with 28 home runs and has hit five in his last seven games.
Jared Walsh, First Base, Los Angeles
While Ohtani and Mike Trout fill the headlines, Walsh has quietly put together a solid season for the Angels. His 1.9 WAR is third on the team, trailing LA’s two stars. After a solid rookie season, Walsh has hit 20 home runs with an OPS of .913. While it is impossible to replicate Trout’s output, Walsh is providing enough power to keep the Angels competitive. In two appearances against Boston this season, Walsh is 4-for-8 with two doubles.