Catcher Stephen Vogt leads the A's with a .308 average, 11 home runs and 39 RBIs. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Red Sox-Athletics series preview

June 05, 2015 - 6:39 am
Categories: 

Coming off of a four-game series split with the Twins, the Red Sox will remain at Fenway over the weekend and welcome the A's to Yawkey Way. The Sox have lost their last two, including a wretched, error-filled, 8-4 decision on Thursday.

The Sox have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games and lost 11 of 16, placing their record at a woeful 24-31 and earning a cellar-dwelling position in the American League East. On Thursday, Farrell acknowledged that he's taking things personally.

"Absolutely," he said after his team's loss. "That was a poor display of baseball today. Those situations are addressed individually, it's alerted collectively, and we will continue to do so."

While the sky is falling on Red Sox Nation, the visitors this weekend, too, have had a disjointed and unsuccessful season to date. The A's have played to a 23-33 record and sit in last place in both the AL West and entire American League.

However, the A's are winners of seven of their last 10 games and take a four-game winning streak into the weekend at Fenway. General manager Billy Beane's squad has a plus-10 run differential this season, seventh best in the AL.

Manager Bob Melvin has been impressed with his team's performance of late.

"We're just trying to play good -- win as many games as we can," he said Thursday after his team swept the Tigers. "We're about trying to climb toward .500, and then worry about where you are in the standings."

The Athletics, despite their ugly record, have scored the fourth-most runs in the American League with 240. They also own the league's fourth-best team ERA at 3.60. Yet somehow they have won only 41-percent of their games.

For the sake of comparison, this Red Sox team has earned its futility: Boston has scored the third-fewest runs and has the second-highest team ERA in the AL.

The A's are led by a starting rotation that has been exceedingly efficient and impressive. Oakland starters have collectively amassed a 3.10 ERA, ranking first in the AL and only behind St. Louis in all of baseball.

Here are the pitching matchups for the series:

Friday: Wade Miley (4-5, 4.97 ERA) vs. Scott Kazmir (2-3, 2.93 ERA) Saturday: Joe Kelly (1-4, 5.83 ERA) vs. Jesse Chavez (2-5, 2.11 ERA) Sunday: Clay Buchholz (3-6, 3.82 ERA) vs. Kendall Graveman (3-2, 5.56 ERA)

WHO'S HOT: RED SOX

-- Shortstop Xander Bogaerts is starting to show the hitting prowess that made him a high-ranking prospect. In his past seven games, Bogaerts has recorded 11 hits, a .524 batting average and four RBIs. He has raised his average to .298, the highest among qualified AL shortstops.

-- Dustin Pedroia also has been effective at the dish. In the last week, the second baseman is 10-for-30, working to a slash line of .333/.355/.467. He is the owner of a team-leading .303 batting average.

-- Clay Buchholz has pitched at least 7 1/3 innings in each of his past four starts. The lanky right-hander has allowed just five total runs over that span, including a masterful performance his last time out when he threw eight scoreless innings against the Twins on Tuesday.

WHO'S HOT: A'S

-- The A's have been led offensively by catcher Stephen Vogt. He is hitting .308 with 11 home runs, 39 RBIs and a .405 on-base percentage, leading the team in each of those categories.

-- Brett Lawrie is 9-for-22 in his past six games, including a home run and four RBIs. Acquired in the offseason from Toronto, Lawrie's slash line over that span is .409/.435/.682.

-- The anchor of the Oakland rotation is 25-year-old Sonny Gray. The Vanderbilt product is 7-2 and sports a 1.65 ERA and 0.91 WHIP, both of which lead the AL.

WHO'S NOT: RED SOX

-- It's no tough task to find Red Sox hitters currently struggling at the plate. Over the past six games, Pablo Sandoval is 1-for-20, for a batting average of .050. The third baseman also has had two multi-error games in the past week, and both times made ninth-inning miscues that led to Red Sox losses.

-- In the past week Rusney Castillo has hit at a .174 clip, going 4-for-23. In 12 games since being called up Castillo is hitting .190 with nine strikeouts and no extra-base hits.

-- Mookie Betts, too, has sputtered at the dish recently. Betts has gone 5-for-26 in the last week, hitting for an unimpressive slash line of .192/.276/.231.

WHO'S NOT: A'S

-- Ben Zobrist has gone 2-for-20 in his past six games, hitting for a .100/.250/.250 slash line. Zobrist is hitting .222 in 23 games on the season.

-- The last week has seen Marcus Semien go 4-for-20 for a batting average of .200. He has not recorded an extra-base hit during that span. Despite the slump Semien still is hitting .277 on the season.

-- Sam Fuld is hitting .185, has yet to hit a home run and has recorded just eight RBIs.

Comments ()