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07/25/10 2:21 PM ET

Red Sox head to Anaheim in need of wins

As things stand now, the American League East is a two-team race -- something the Red Sox are trying to change.

The Yankees and Rays have slowly pulled away from the Red Sox, as they sit eight games behind first-place New York. With the season more than halfway over, the club needs to move quickly.

Next, the Red Sox will continue on their 10-game West Coast road trip, heading to Anaheim to take on the Angels -- who will start newly acquired Dan Haren in the opener -- for the last three games of this trip.

The Red Sox are coming off a four-game series split against the Mariners. Boston had a chance to win the series Sunday, taking a one-run lead into the eighth, but lost, 4-2, after an eighth-inning implosion by Hideki Okajima.

Boston will look to starting pitcher Clay Buchholz to start their series off on the right foot. Buchholz is making his second start since coming off the disabled list, after giving up six hits and five runs over four innings in a loss to the A's in his first start back.

The last time Buchholz faced the Angels on May 3, he picked up the win, giving up eight hits and four runs over 5 2/3 innings.

The Angels will counter with Haren, who was acquired from the D-backs for Joe Saunders and prospects. A three-time All-Star, Haren is in the midst of a subpar season, going 7-8 with a 4.60 ERA in his 21 starts for Arizona. But his 141 strikeouts were second only to Tim Lincecum's 143 in the NL.

The Angels lost three of four games against Texas over the weekend, receding to seven games back in the AL West standings. The Angels, who fell to a four-game series sweep against the Red Sox earlier this season, lost six of their final seven games before the All-Star break and are just 5-5 since the intermission.

Red Sox: Martinez expected back Monday
After fracturing his left thumb on June 27, catcher Victor Martinez is expected to return to the lineup Monday in Anaheim. "I actually think he's probably going to be ready," Francona said before Sunday's game. Martinez caught in the bullpen for a while on Sunday, and his thumb checked out OK.

Angels: Haren bolsters rotation
The Angels have a rapidly changing dynamic in the rotation, thanks to the addition of Haren. Haren, who last started on Wednesday, fortifies the Angels for the playoff run.

And it doesn't stop there. Haren is under contract through 2012 with an option for 2013, giving the Angels an arm to build around over the next few seasons. Haren, along with Jered Weaver and Ervin Santana, can help form a sturdy rotation core of pitchers with postseason experience that match up with the league's best teams.

Worth noting:
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz will make his first trip back to Anaheim since winning the 2010 Home Run Derby.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.