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Meyer eyes dominant follow-up in Boston

MLB.com

When the Red Sox and Angels take the field for tonight's opener of a three-game series, the No. 34 will be hanging from the right-field facade at Fenway Park next to some other all-time greats.

Less than eight months after he played the final game of his illustrious career, David Ortiz will have his number retired in a pregame ceremony.

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When the Red Sox and Angels take the field for tonight's opener of a three-game series, the No. 34 will be hanging from the right-field facade at Fenway Park next to some other all-time greats.

Less than eight months after he played the final game of his illustrious career, David Ortiz will have his number retired in a pregame ceremony.

View Full Game Coverage

Big Papi joins Wade Boggs, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, Carlton Fisk, Pedro Martinez, Johnny Pesky, Jim Rice, Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski as Red Sox icons who have received this honor. But Ortiz will become the first to have his number retired by the tradition-laden Red Sox within a year of retiring.

"That just lets you what a special impact he's made in the community and the organization and all of baseball," said Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. "What he's done for the city, the team, people around him, it's well deserved. I know we couldn't be any happier for him."

Rick Porcello, who has been struggling to regain the form that made him the American League's Cy Young Award winner last season, takes the mound for the Red Sox.

The Angels counter with righty Alex Meyer, who was magnificent last time out, firing six shutout innings while allowing two hits and striking out nine in a win over the Royals. The 27-year-old rookie has given the Halos' rotation a significant boost over the last month, recording a 1.91 ERA over his last six starts.

Dustin Pedroia hopes to be back in the lineup for Boston after missing all three games in Kansas City with deep bruising in his left lat/rib cage area after getting drilled by a pitch in Houston on Sunday.

This is the only visit to Boston for the Angels this season, meaning that Fenway fans will be deprived of seeing superstar Mike Trout in action. The outfielder is recovering from left thumb surgery.

Before the game, there will be a buzz in the air, as Ortiz has not attended a game at Fenway Park since his retirement.

"It will be great to see him," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "It will be a fun day, a well-deserved day, and really looking forward to the celebration of David once again. So, to see him at the ballpark, to see the smile, to hear the booming voice, it'll be a good day for us."

Three things to watch for

• Porcello has allowed a .358 average over his past eight starts, including .385 on fastballs. That's the highest mark among more than 50 pitchers with at least 400 fastballs thrown since May 12.

• This will be Meyer's 16th career start, and first against the Red Sox. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts this season.

• After not starting on Wednesday, the slumping Hanley Ramirez will likely be back in there for Boston tonight. Farrell recently noted how vital it is for Ramirez to regain his stroke. The right-handed hitter is slashing .239/.341/.394 with nine homers and 26 RBIs.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.