Red Sox OF Masataka Yoshida showing value vs. Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Right-hander Griffin Canning will make his seventh start of the season Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Angels face the Boston Red Sox in Anaheim, Calif., but he still is working through the process of returning from a long layoff.

Canning (2-2, 6.14 ERA) was a starter for the Angels in 2021 but missed half of that season and all of 2022 with a stress fracture in his back. He did not return until this past April.

He’s pitched at least five innings in five of his six starts this year but has failed to finish six innings. He has struggled in May, giving up 13 earned runs in 14 innings, but Angels manager Phil Nevin said he sees Canning taking steps in the right direction.

“I just think he just keeps getting better and better the more pitches he throws,” Nevin said. “I think a lot of it is feel for him with the changeup and the breaking ball. And you take almost two years off, it’s hard to get that back. It takes some time. But he’s been really good for us.”

Canning has one career start against the Red Sox, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out seven in the no-decision game on May 14, 2021.

Right-hander Brayan Bello (3-1, 4.45 ERA) will make his seventh start of the season for Boston. He is 0-1 with a 16.88 ERA in one career start against the Angels.

Boston outfielder Masataka Yoshida had two of the Red Sox’s four hits in Monday’s 2-1 loss in the series opener to the Angels, continuing to show observers he was worth the five-year, $90 million contract he signed in the offseason. It is the biggest contract for a position player to come from Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan.

It didn’t start well, though. Through the first 13 games of the season, Yoshida was hitting just .167 with two extra-base hits. But he turned things around quickly, putting together a 16-game hitting streak that pushed his average to .307.

Working with assistant hitting coach Luis Ortiz, Yoshida made adjustments, particularly opening up his stance somewhat, allowing him to see the ball better.

“I can pick out the balls that I should swing at, so I think that’s why I’m doing well,” Yoshida said. “I’m focused on my batting form, especially my stance. So, stance-wise, I’m stepping with my right foot back a little bit. Then it makes me more comfortable to see the ball. I haven’t changed anything swing-wise.”

The Red Sox devised part of their game plan with Yoshida even before the season began, reaching out to the hitting coaches at Yoshida’s team in Japan, the Orix Buffaloes.

“They talked about rolling over to second and what’s going to happen and why it happens with him,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “I think that helped us in a sense, and just talking to those guys and learning a little bit about him. It was huge for us.”

Yoshida is hitting .360 (9-for-25) during his current six-game streak. For the season, he is hitting .308 with six homers, 29 RBIs and an .878 OPS.

–Field Level Media

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