Saturday's Red Sox-Athletics matchups: Rubby De La Rosa vs. Jesse Chavez

June 21, 2014 - 4:00 am
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The Red Sox continue their four-game series against the Athletics in Oakland when they send Rubby De La Rosa to the mound against Jesse Chavez. De La Rosa (2-2, 2.84 ERA) has been nearly untouchable in his two starts at Fenway Park this season, tossing a pair of shutouts over seven innings in each of his performances. His most recent start might have been his most impressive in a Red Sox uniform. He allowed just one hit to go with three walks and three strikeouts on a season-high 106 pitches in a 1-0 Red Sox win over the Twins Monday night. The right-hander didn't have the eight strikeouts that highlighted his Sox debut May 31 against the Rays, but he overcame control problems -- he threw just 62 of his 106 pitches for strikes -- and limited run support to lead the Sox to a win. He attributed his success to having more confidence in his fastball. "Last couple of outings, I didn't throw my fastball a lot because I feel confident with my changeup, so I threw my changeup a lot," De La Rosa said after the game. "They told me to throw my fastball because I have a good fastball. Throw fastballs and then the changeup behind that, nobody can hit that. They'€™re not prepared for that. That'€™s different. This time I tried to throw more fastballs. "They swing a lot on my fastball. I try to use two different kinds of changeups. I throw one for the strikeout and one for contact. When I go 0-2 or 2-2, I throw for the contact. I don'€™€™t want to strike out everybody." Unfortunately for the Red Sox, De La Rosa has yet to replicate that success on the road this season. The 25-year-old is 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA in two starts away from Fenway this season, which is bad news for the Sox if that trend continues Saturday. He allowed four earned runs and failed to make it out of the sixth inning in losses at Detroit and Baltimore. Taking on the A's, the team with the best record in the American League, won't make the job any easier.  De La Rosa has never faced Oakland in his career. The only member of the A's he has opposed in the big leagues before is Alberto Callaspo, who has a walk and a strikeout in three career plate appearances against De La Rosa. After spending his first six big league seasons pitching out of the bullpen, Chavez (6-4, 2.93 ERA) has thrived for the Athletics as a starter in 2014. The right-hander has allowed more than three earned runs just three times this season and has pitched into the sixth inning all but twice. Chavez was especially impressive early in the season, going 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in six starts in April. After four straight mediocre starts in which he went 1-3, Chavez appeared back to form Sunday when he gave the A's six solid innings Sunday against the Yankees. He gave up one run, five hits and no walks to go with four strikeouts in a 10-5 Oakland win. "Today was, I thought, similar to what we were seeing real early in the season," manager Bob Melvin said of Chavez after the game. "You could tell right away he was on it pretty good, cutter to both sides of the plate, good curveball to create a gap between the hard stuff and the offspeed stuff, threw a few good changeups. "It's not like he was pitching poorly, but this is the type of outing we were seeing earlier in the year when he was really knifing through teams and cutting through them very quickly." Saturday will be Chavez's first appearance against the Red Sox since July 12, 2013, when he gave up one hit in a scoreless inning of relief. Chavez has a 1.69 ERA in three games that have amounted to 5 1/3 innings against the Sox for his career. Saturday will be his first career start against the Red Sox. Red Sox vs. Chavez (RHP) A.J. Pierzynski (6 plate appearances): .250 AVG/.500 OBP/1.000 SLG, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 walk Mike Napoli (5): .400/.400/1.400, 1 HR, 1 triple, 2 RBIs, 3 strikeouts Stephen Drew (4): .250/.250/1.000, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout Daniel Nava is hitless with a strikeout in two career plate appearances. David Ortiz is 1 for 2 with a solo home run in two career plate appearances. Dustin Pedroia is hitless in his two career plate appearances. Brock Holt failed to reach base in his lone plate appearance. Athletics vs. De La Rosa (RHP) Alberto Callaspo (3 plate appearances): .000 AVG/.333 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 walk, 1 strikeout No other A's batters have faced De La Rosa.

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