The team to beat in the AL isn't the New York Yankees. It isn't the Tampa Bay Rays. It isn't even the Boston Red Sox. The team to beat in the AL, if not all of MLB, is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Angels have dominated the Red Sox this season winning seven straight games against them. Last night, Angels starting pitcher John Lackey came within two outs of tossing a no-hitter against the Red Sox. Lackey, who has struggled at Fenway Park, held the Red Sox hitless until Dustin Pedroia smacked a single just out of the reach of Angels shortstop Macier Izturis. Lackey then lost the shutout by surrendering a two run homerun to Kevin Youkilis. However, Lackey regained his composure and got the complete game victory for a 6-2 Angels win.
Prior to the game, the Angels went from great to astonishing when they acquired the services of first baseman Mark Teixeira from the Atlanta Braves. This undoubtedly pumped up Lackey and the Angels. The Angels have long needed a hitter in the lineup who will protect Vladimir Guerrero whose numbers are down this season. To get Teixeira, the Angels gave up first baseman Casey Kotchman and a minor league pitcher.
Kotchman was no slouch. He was leading the team in hits and tied for the team lead in RBI with Guerrero and Torii Hunter. I kind of feel sorry for Kotchman. Yes, he is a major league ballplayer who is making money hand over fist. But Kotchman just went from a playoff bound team to a team with no chance in the NL East much less the NL Wild Card. I don't care how much money you are making. That has got to be a letdown. But he is a professional and I'm sure he'll make the best of his new circumstances.
Teixeira will make his Angels debut tonight in Boston as the Angels and Red Sox play the final game of their current three game series.