The Boston Red Sox have won more games in their own stadium since 2003 than any other ball club, and have parlayed that home success into five playoff appearances in those six seasons, and a pair of World Series titles.
Terry Francona's team currently sits atop the American League East and, at 49-32, owns the league's best record, including 26-12 at home.
Not very good news for the franchise that once employed Francona as a coach, more popularly known in these parts as your Oakland A's. Bad enough the A's are dead-last in the AL West, but visits to famed Fenway Park have hardly been what one would call pleasant. Since arriving in Oakland in 1968, the A's are 84-148 in Boston; just 9-18 since '03, not counting those two heart-breakers that led to another playoff collapse. In fact the Green-and-Gold has not won a game where Neil Diamond croons "Sweet Caroline" during the stretch since May 1, 2007, thanks to Travis Buck's (remember him?) dramatic homerun off closer Papelbon that led to an extra inning win.
Tonight features the return to Boston for Nomar Garciaparra, who was traded by the Red Sox just three months before they ended their 86-season drought without a World Series victory. Mia's husband will play the role of designated hitter for the series opener.
The only thing I have to add about the A's new guy is that he is not in the starting lineup.
On the mound, it's baby-faced Brett Anderson versus John Smoltz, who made his big-league debut some five months after Anderson was born.
07/06/09 4:10 PM PDT
|Oakland Athletics||Boston Red Sox|
|Adam Kennedy - 3B||Jacoby Ellsbury - CF|
|Orlando Cabrera - SS||Dustin Pedroia - 2B|
|Matt Holliday - LF||Kevin Youkilis - 3B|
|Jason Giambi - 1B||David Ortiz - DH|
|Kurt Suzuki - C||Jason Bay - LF|
|Nomar Garciaparra - DH||Jason Varitek - C|
|Jack Cust - RF||Rocco Baldelli - RF|
|Ryan Sweeney - CF||Nick Green - SS|
|Mark Ellis - 2B||Aaron Bates - 1B|