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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Face a Real Test Against Detroit Tigers

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 21:  Albert Pujols #5 and Ervin Santana #54 of the Los Angeles Angels share a laugh after Santana had trouble fielding a ball during a game with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on August 21, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Paul Francis SullivanChief Writer IAugust 24, 2012

What can be made from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's sweep of the Boston Red Sox this week?

On one hand, it was exactly what the Angels needed. They were coming off a four-game sweep at home by Tampa Bay that put the team perilously close to .500.

Their pitching looked like it was in shambles. With Oakland, Baltimore, Detroit and Tampa Bay all moving past them, a season that, as recently as late July, looked like it could lead to the World Series, was slipping away.

So, winning all three games on the road, including last night's 14-13 bizarre victory, could be a turning point for the team.

Maybe the Angels needed that sense of positivity to kick-start the club. Maybe winning a game that kept getting away from them will move them back to pennant land.

Then again, the Angels might have been fortunate enough to face a Red Sox team that was in more of a funk than they were.

Boston has been losing on the field, fighting in the clubhouse and quarreling through the media. The team cannot even do a celebration of Fenway Park or have a funeral for Johnny Pesky without controversy. When two inert objects collide, you get a game like last night, where neither team seemed to have the ability to put the other away.

Have the Angels stirred from their slumber, or did they play a team that was in a deeper sleep?

The Tigers will be a formidable first test. The Angels are fortunate to avoid Justin Verlander, the defending Cy Young winner, in this series. The MVP was his usual dominant self against Toronto yesterday.

The Angels will throw disappointing Zack Greinke against Rick Porcello tonight. He was downright terrible against Tampa Bay in his last start, and his 6.19 ERA in five Angels start is alarming. But he is a better pitcher than that. Perhaps tonight could be the night he turns it around.

And Porcello, while talented, is certainly capable of letting up runs. Even without Albert Pujols, the Angels lineup can score, as it showed last night.

Dan Haren throws on Saturday against Drew Smyly, and enigmatic Ervin Santana goes against Max Scherzer in the finale.

The Angels have the talent to win the World Series. They have the person who should win the MVP in Mike Trout and a possible Cy Young winner in Jered Weaver. They have a great manager in Mike Scioscia and a lineup filled with solid veterans and electric young stars.

They had a bad three weeks. If Detroit is too much for them to handle, don't worry, Angels fans: The Red Sox come into town next week. That should be a few more Halos wins right there.

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