Mike Trout is expected to be back in the starting lineup for the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night against the Boston Red Sox in Anaheim, Calif., after missing Wednesday's game against Texas with a sore right foot.
That's not good news for the Red Sox, who are fighting to remain in playoff contention just one season after winning the World Series. The Red Sox will enter Friday 5 1/2 games behind Oakland for the second American League wild-card spot.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora, though, says it is too soon to talk about the standings. At least, until Sunday.
"September (first), we'll talk about it," Cora told reporters. "I've been saying that since April, I'm not going to deviate from that. I know where we are, how talented we are. We just have to do it on the field, and we're playing good baseball."
Boston has won four of its past five games, led offensively by shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who went 8-for-17 with three doubles and three home runs in those five games. He became the first Red Sox shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra in 1998 to have at least 30 homers and 100 RBI in a season.
Bogaerts, though, has not had success against the Angels -- either this year or in his career. This season he has two hits in 17 at-bats against them. He is 29-for-132 (.220) in 34 career games against the team.
Bogaerts and his teammates will face Angels rookie left-hander Jose Suarez for the first time. Suarez is 2-5 with a 6.67 ERA since making his major league debut on June 9, and has struggled recently.
Suarez has lost four consecutive decisions and has failed to last at least five innings in eight of his past nine appearances. His best performance of the season came on June 15 when he held Tampa Bay to three runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Suarez, though, will have help in the return of Trout, who sat out Wednesday's game for precautionary reasons. He's been bothered by bruise-like soreness on the bottom of his right foot for a couple of weeks, but said he'll be ready against Boston.
"Just been sore, I'll be good to go Friday," Trout told the media Wednesday. "For a few weeks now, I've played through it. Good time to get some rest because we've got some days off. I couldn't tell you what (caused it). It just got sore. Should be good to go Friday."
Though the Angels have long since been out of playoff contention, they have Trout, who is putting up fantastic numbers -- even by his own standards. He leads the majors in homers (43), on-base percentage (.436) and WAR (8.1). He also has 100 RBI, 104 runs scored and 101 walks.
Trout, though, has slumped some as of late, with just four hits in 24 at-bats over his last six games.
Trout and his teammates will face Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 6.64), making his third start since joining the rotation after spending most of the season either recovering from elbow surgery or pitching out of the bullpen.
In his last two starts, Eovaldi allowed seven runs on seven hits in just five innings. Against the Angels, he is 2-1 in seven appearances (five starts) with a 4.45 ERA. Trout is 6 for 14 with two RBI against Eovaldi in his career.
--Field Level Media
Trout expected back for Angels vs. Red Sox