The 66-40 Angels appear to be doing everything right. They hit. They pitch -- even flirt with a no-hitter at Fenway Park, where a road team hasn't thrown a no-no in 50 years. And in a season that's notorious for the home-field advantage, they sport one of two winning records by an American League team away from Anaheim.
So naturally, the arrival of Mark Teixeira on Tuesday from the Atlanta Braves for first baseman Casey Kotchman and Minor League pitcher Steve Marek only added gravy to the Halos' situation.
Quite frankly, it further tilted the complexion of the AL pennant chase in their favor, and it's no secret to teams like the Red Sox, who are vying for their own livelihood.
"What can I say?" said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "They want to go to the World Series and win the World Series."
Boston, at the moment, is struggling even at Fenway where they've been so dominant all year. Since the All-Star break, they're 1-4 at home against the Yankees and Angels, and that includes John Lackey's near no-hitter on Tuesday.
"I mean, both their guys [Kotchman and Teixeira] weren't here and they still whooped on us," Pedroia said. "It gives them another middle-of-the-order bat, so they're an elite team."
Manager Terry Francona, noticeably upset due to the 6-2 defeat, wasn't biting on the topic after the game. He said he hadn't thought about Teixeira's arrival and wouldn't do so until he was in the lineup tomorrow.
Captain Jason Varitek was more open to conversation.
"He's definitely a power threat, and he's pretty much a second-half player his entire career," Varitek said. "They also lose a little bit; the guy they got rid of put together some good at-bats, as well."
Still, with Teixeira batting .283 with 20 home runs and 78 RBIs, one can't help but think what implications he could have on a lineup that already features Vladimir Guerrero (.287, 17 homers) and Torii Hunter (.280, 16 homers) in the thick of the order.
He's expected to arrive into Boston and play in the series finale, likely hitting third.
"It's pretty good for them; they got a quality hitter, switch-hitter," Alex Cora said. "I don't know, I can tell you Maicer Izturis isn't going to hit third -- put him with those guys, and Torii has looked like a different player over there, so it'll be interesting to see."
Not to mention their pitching staff, who has allowed two earned runs or less in 30 of their last 43 wins. Teixeira, a solid defensive first baseman and former Gold Glove Award winner, should only help the team's pitching statistics.
All indications suggest that this team, which wins more on the road than it does at home and is currently four games better than anyone else in the AL, is now the toast of the league.
Make no mistake -- it's got the defending World Champions' attention.
"They'll move runners, and they've got a couple big hitters that can swing the bat," third baseman Mike Lowell said. "So they're probably going to get better with Teixeira. Good 'pen, good starters. That's a pretty good balance to have."
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.