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|BOSTON — Their bats clearly on fire Dante Fowler Jr Jersey , the Boston Red Sox head to New York this weekend for the latest chapter of the rivalry with the New York Yankees.
But first, there’s work to do at home.
After blowing a 6-0 lead but surviving to move back into first place in the American League East, the Red Sox go for the series and season sweep of the floundering Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park on Thursday night.
With Steven Wright hitting the disabled list with left knee inflammation, left-hander Brian Johnson (1-2, 4.50 ERA) gets the start for Boston against rookie righty Jaime Barria (5-3, 3.40) in Thursday night’s finale — before the three games in the Bronx.
The Red Sox, who have scored 48 runs in their last six games, hit the halfway mark of their schedule by moving a half-game ahead of the Yankees at 54-27. They have outscored the Angels 45-10 in five games this season.
Johnson started in the fifth game of the season, allowing one run on six hits in six innings at Miami. He now makes his eighth career start and second of the season. This will be his first start against Angels, although earlier this season, Johnson pitched three scoreless innings of relief in Boston’s three-game sweep in Anaheim.
The Red Sox are a season-high 27 games over .500. They are 3-3 against the Yankees, who are off Thursday before the third series of the season between the rivals.
J.D. Martinez hit his 25th homer of the season Wednesday, already one more than Mookie Betts‘ club-leading total last season. Martinez is the seventh Red Sox player with at least 25 homers in half a season.
“He’s becoming a leader of the team in the clubhouse,” Boston manager Alex Cora said after Wednesday’s game.
Martinez, asked if he sets offensive goals before the start of the season, said, “Nah. My goal is to not give an at-bat away, you know?”
While his team did rally from six runs down to make a game of it Wednesday, Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia didn’t have much to be happy about following the 9-6 defeat.
The Angels, who have lost five straight and 12 of their last 16 games, got bad news before the game regarding Zack Cozart and then saw just-recalled reliever Jake Jewell carted off the field after suffering what appeared to be a serious ankle injury.
“Hoping everything is OK with Jewell,” Cora said. “Everyone in the dugout and clubhouse will be praying for him.”
Cozart will likely miss the remainder of the season after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.
“Zack Cozart received a second opinion on his left shoulder after experiencing continued discomfort during his progressions,” the Angels said in statement. “After additional imaging and clinical examination, it was recommended that he undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Zack will undergo surgery in Los Angeles in the near future. We will update with additional information when appropriate.”
As far as the Angels’ current situation, Scioscia said, “We’ll keep battling, but at some point obviously we need to put both ends together, get the pitching we need and get some early runs, get the game on our terms and start to do things the way we can.”
Jewell, appearing in his third major league game after arriving earlier in the day, was injured covering home plate on a wild pitch in the eighth inning.
“It was sad, really sad,” Los Angeles catcher Martin Maldonado said. “Young guy or an old guy T.J. Yeldon Jersey , it’s hard to see a teammate go down like that.”
It was back in 2014 that Angels right-hander Garrett Richards suffered a season-ending injury while covering first base at Fenway.
Jewell and infielder Nolan Fontana had been recalled, while Akeel Morris was sent back to Salt Lake City and Tuesday night loser John Lamb hit the 10-day disabled with left shoulder and elbow inflammation.
The Angels also said rookie Shohei Ohtani with have his left elbow re-evaluated Thursday — amid talk he could return as a hitter this season while not pitching.
“If he was solely a DH, he would have been cleared right away,” general manager Billy Eppler said on MLB Radio, “but because you are wanting that ligament to heal, to get that impact he brings on the mound, you want to — I don’t want to coin it the danger zone — but you want to get to the point where you are feeling that area has plenty of time to scar and heal.
“That’s what the three-week prescription is for, to buy you that time of scarring and healing.”
Barria, who allowed one run in five innings in his last start,has gone an impressive 3-1 with a 3.10 ERA on the road. He has never faced the Red Sox.
Andrew Heaney was a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers for a few hours early in his major league career.
Heaney is still hoping to convince their front office they should have given him a longer look five years ago. He’ll get another opportunity Sunday evening when he takes the mound for the Los Angeles Angels in the series finale against the Dodgers at Angel Stadium.
The Dodgers (48-40) gave up two runs in the ninth inning and lost the series opener 3-2 on Friday night, then held on for a 3-1 win against the Angels (45-45) on Saturday.
Heaney was traded from the Miami Marlins to the Dodgers at the winter meetings Dec. 12, 2014, but a few hours later the Dodgers dealt him to the Angels for popular second baseman Howie Kendrick.
Heaney had two chances to beat the Dodgers during the 2015 season, but lost both games. He gave up two runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 3-1 loss at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 1 of that season. Five weeks later at Angel Stadium, he gave up five runs and six hits in five innings of a 6-4 loss.
Heaney had Tommy John surgery in June 2016 and made only six starts over the next two seasons.
Heaney (4-6, 3.94) had a solid month of May this season, posting a 2-3 record and 2.41 ERA in six starts. He had a winning mark of 2-1 in June, but his ERA dipped to 4.45 for the month. In his only start in July, he gave up three runs and five hits in seven innings at the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, taking the loss in the 4-1 defeat.
“It’s sort of been the same old story for a little while, just sort of the big innings where I let it kind of build,” Heaney told reporters after his latest outing. “It’s something where I need to come out and establish earlier, kind of get ahead, and all the other same stuff we always talk about.”
Heaney will be opposed by Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood, who will be aiming to win his fifth straight start. Wood also won all five appearances in May of last season on his way to an 11-0 start.
Wood (5-5, 3.84) probably didn’t expect to have a chance to go over .500 by early July after dropping to 0-4 on May 15.
“Winning is just nice,” Wood told Sportsnet after his latest start, a 17-1 win against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday. “Four in a row is nice, especially where I was after that three-start stretch. So I feel good, just trying to keep moving forward and looking towards the future. Hopefully, we’ll keep swinging the bats well and play well going into the All-Star break.”
The Angels are the only American League West team Wood has not faced in his major league career.
He struggled in his only interleague start this season, giving up seven runs and seven hits over 3 2/3 innings in a 16-6 loss to the visiting Oakland A’s on April 11.