Ah, the Red Sox. I have absolutely no idea what to make of this team. On paper, they're basically the exact same team that won 97 games and a World Series title. But games aren't played on paper, and this team has had a certain difficulty with the whole "playing games" part. Entering play, the Red Sox are 34-38, 4.5 games back of the second wildcard spot, and 12th overall in the American League. Not a good season so far for them. Baseball can be cruel.
On paper, this is the best pitching matchup of the series for the A's -- Jake Peavy (1-4, 4.53) vs. Scott Kazmir (8-2, 2.05). Jake Peavy is having an absolutely miserable season, and not the type of miserable season that's the result of bad luck and the wrath of the baseball gods. His peripherals are awful: 4.70 FIP, 3.40 walks per nine innings, and 1.34 HR per nine. Peavy's had control and homer problems even during his Cy Young years, but never to this extent.
On the other hand, there are not enough superlatives in the world to describe how incredible Scott Kazmir's been. In his last three starts, he's allowed 3 ER in 28.1 IP, which is insane. His FIP is a measly 3.02, and, in case you're keeping track or anything, is currently third in the Neyer/James Cy Young predictor. He's good. He's really something special.
Here's the lineups:
#Athletics vs. RH Peavy: Crisp CF, Jaso DH, Cespedes LF, Moss 1B, Donaldson 3B, Lowrie SS, Norris C, Vogt RF, Callaspo 2B; Kazmir P— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) June 19, 2014
Red Sox v. Kazmir: Holt RF, Bogaerts 3B, Pedroia 2B, Napoli 1B, Pierzynski DH, Gomes LF, Drew SS, Ross C, Bradley Jr. CF, Peavy RHP.— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) June 19, 2014
The Slumpy McSlump Slump is over: The A’s have scored 32 runs and hit five homers over the last four games after only scoring 14 runs with one home run over the previous five.
Solo Dingerz are for losers: Four of the last five homers the A's have hit have been three-run shots, and five of the last seven have either been three-run or grand slams.
Pasta Diving Lowrie, or STOP OVERTHROWING FIRST BASE, DONALDSON: The A’s have committed at least one error in each of the last six games (eight errors total), including a season-high tying three Monday night against Texas (third time). They now have 13 errors in the last nine games and 54 for the season, which is tied for second most in the American League. However, they've allowed just 19 unearned runs, which is tied for third fewest in the AL.
Also, Brad Mills will make his season debut against the Red Sox tomorrow. Woooo baseball.