The surging Los Angeles Angels are certainly satisfied with their early results, while the Boston Red Sox have been perhaps the majors' biggest disappointment in April.
The Angels hope that means things will go differently in this matchup than they did in 2010.Losers of nine of 10 in last season's series, the Angels open a seven-game homestand on Thursday night when the Red Sox try to build off their first road win of the year.By completing a 5-1 trip Wednesday with a 4-1 victory over Texas, Los Angeles (12-6) begins this four-game series with a one-game AL West lead over the Rangers."We're a long way away from where we need to be for the long haul," said manager Mike Scioscia, whose team has won 11 of 14.Los Angeles went 4-2 on its first homestand but hit just .214 while averaging 2.8 runs.The Angels were even worse in the Red Sox's last visit July 26-28, hitting .212 and scoring eight runs while getting swept at home in this series for the first time since July 31-Aug. 2, 1998.Boston (6-11) looks for continued success at Angel Stadium after picking up its first road win of the season Wednesday, 5-3 over Oakland. The Red Sox had not scored in their previous two games away from Fenway Park and were a franchise-worst 0-7 on the road."It's a little late, but it feels good," manager Terry Francona said after his team won for the fourth time in five games. "... We need to try to stay in the moment and win."Giving the ball to Josh Beckett (2-1, 1.80 ERA) could help the Red Sox continue their climb out of the AL East cellar. The right-hander has 19 strikeouts while allowing just five hits and one run over 15 innings in his last two starts, both victories."He definitely should feel good about himself the first three outings," catcher Jason Varitek said after Beckett struck out nine in seven innings of Saturday's 4-1 win over Toronto. "At least he's had his health to build on that since spring training."Beckett went 6-6 with a career-worst 5.78 ERA in 2010, when he missed more than two months with a strained back."I know I stunk last year. We all know that," the former World Series MVP told the Red Sox's official website. "I think maybe we need to move forward a little bit."Beckett earned the win in Boston's last game in Anaheim, but he surrendered six runs in a 7-2 home loss Aug. 19 that prevented the Red Sox from a 10-game sweep of the season series. They had been swept by Los Angeles in the 2009 AL division series.Vernon Wells hit his first homer in an Angels uniform Wednesday, but the former Toronto Blue Jay has plenty of experience circling the bases against Beckett. Wells is 12 for 38 (.316) with five homers -- the most by any player versus Beckett.Tyler Chatwood (1-1, 3.75) will face the Red Sox for the first time Thursday. The rookie right-hander makes his third career start five days after earning his first win, 7-2 at the Chicago White Sox."Nerves were gone," Chatwood said after surrendering one run in seven innings. "I just felt more confident."He'll need that confidence against David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis, who hit a combined .392 (20 for 51) with six homers off Angels pitching last season. Ortiz should be back in the lineup Thursday after Youkilis replaced him as DH and went 2 for 4 with a homer Wednesday.Boston's Jed Lowrie, who also was 2 for 4 with a home run in the win, is batting .531 (17 for 32) with three homers and 11 RBIs in his last nine games.