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LAA@TB: Weaver stymies Rays over six strong, gets win

On Friday, one of the American League's worst offenses will head West to take on one of its best.

The Red Sox haven't shown any consistency with their bats this season, but the Angels have. That will be on full display when Boston's Allen Webster takes on Jered Weaver of the Halos in the first of a three-game set in Anaheim. Entering Thursday, the Sox ranked last in the AL in runs scored and the Angels ranked second.

Weaver hasn't been brilliant by any means this season, but the Angels are 15-9 in games he starts and 8-1 over his last nine. He's received the 14th most run support among starting pitchers this year. But with a 3.59 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 2.54 K/BB ratio, Weaver has posted his worst number in each of those categories in the last five seasons.

In the Angels' 7-5 win over the Rays on Sunday, Weaver allowed just two runs despite allowing six hits and four walks in six innings. The Halos put a five spot on the board in the first to support him.

"You can't complain too much when [the bats] put five runs on the board there in the first," said Weaver. "It makes the starting pitcher's job a little bit easier."

Webster, meanwhile, took Jake Peavy's spot in the Red Sox rotation when the veteran was dealt to San Francisco several days before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and Boston's No. 5 prospect hasn't found his control in either of his two starts since.

The 24-year-old has allowed 11 walks, five hits and six runs over eight innings this season with Boston. For Triple-A Pawtucket, though, Webster has a 3.10 ERA and 2.27 K/BB ratio in 21 outings.

"It was just my fastball," Webster said after a 6-4 loss to the Yankees on Saturday, when he exited after 2 2/3 innings. "If I could have found my release point on my fastball, I could've gotten my other pitches to work behind it."

"It's not uncommon for young pitchers that when you get into a little bit of a situation where you're trying to do more, you're trying harder to throw a strike, not necessarily in terms of velocity, but you're trying harder to throw a ball in a certain area," manager John Farrell said. "What that leads to is being spread out a little bit more in the delivery, your arm drags. A lot of times, less is better."

Red Sox: Johnson activated, Betts optioned
Kelly Johnson has been with the Red Sox for a week, but not on the 25-man roster. On Thursday, the club activated him off the disabled list and optioned top prospect Mookie Betts to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Acquired from the Yankees for Stephen Drew at the Deadline, Johnson will pinch-hit and play first, third and left field when needed. The 32-year-old hit .219/.304/.373 in 227 plate appearances with New York this season.

"Kelly's aware of the role he comes in, so we'll pick those spots accordingly," Farrell said.

Betts started just two games since being recalled Aug. 1.

"He's a developing player, and in the two stints he's had here with us, you can see the improvements defensively but we didn't want to stall that development any further," said Farrell.

Angels: Tough stretch over for Halos
The Angels can finally exhale.

Since the All-Star break, the Angels have played 17 of 20 games against teams with winning records, including 14 games against teams that would currently make the playoffs. The Angels emerged with a 10-10 record with 11 games decided by one run.

"We don't have a perfect team, we have a strong team," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think that the teams we faced, there's no such thing as a perfect ball club. I think that when we can do the things that we need to do on the field, we're very comfortable matching up and playing against anyone."

Beginning with a series against the Red Sox, the Angels' next 12 games are against teams currently in last place in their division. They play the Phillies and Rangers before taking on the Red Sox again.

"I don't know if we're going to look back at any stretch but we have a tough game every night," Scioscia said. "There's no breather in the schedule, you have tough games every night and you have to be ready for them. Overall, we've held our own since the break but hopefully, we're going to start to get a little more offensive continuity."

Worth noting
• David Ortiz was scratched from Thursday's starting lineup because of wet conditions at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, where he was supposed to play first base. He's expected to be back in Boston's lineup Friday as the designated hitter.

• Shane Victorino's back surgery Tuesday was successful and he's expected to be ready for Spring Training.

• Boston is the only American League team the Angels have not faced this season.

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