The A's capped off the official halfway point of their season with a memorable game in Fenway Park last night but they're going to need many more like that one if they're going to improve upon a 35-46 record.
On paper, the matchup doesn't look good for Oakland tonight. Dana Eveland, recalled to start in place of Dallas Braden, out on the bereavement list, faces Josh Beckett. The news is that Braden has gone to be with his grandmother in Stockton, who suffered a heart attack. It sounds like she's doing all right and Braden will be with her through the weekend with the All-Star Break coming up afterward.
Eveland has been pretty erratic in Sacramento this year, mostly following a pattern of good start/bad start, leaning more toward "bad with a little luck once in a while." You know the story: hits and walks. At least with the River Cats he's close to allowing a hit an inning (it was almost 1.7 this season with Oakland) but his walk-to-strikeout ratio is still unimpressive (33:46 in 69.2 IP). All I'm hoping for is 5 or 6 decent innings without letting Boston take out their frustrations from last night on him, but he has NOT pitched well in Fenway Park in the past.
Meanwhile, Beckett's coming off a rough start to kick off July after dominating much of May and June. He's undefeated in Fenway this season with much better numbers there than on the road and will definitely be looking to shut down the menace (ahem) that is the A's offense of the last two games.
One other problem: storms are in the forecast with about a 30% chance of rain lasting throughout the game. On top of that, it's expected to be wet in Boston all night (whether that's at the game, in the bars, or both).
07/07/09 4:10 PM PDT
|Oakland Athletics||Boston Red Sox|
|Adam Kennedy - 3B||J.D. Drew - RF|
|Orlando Cabrera - SS||Dustin Pedroia - 2B|
|Scott Hairston - CF||Kevin Youkilis - 3B|
|Matt Holliday - LF||Jason Bay - LF|
|Jason Giambi - 1B||David Ortiz - DH|
|Kurt Suzuki - C||Jason Varitek - C|
|Jack Cust - DH||Jacoby Ellsbury - CF|
|Ryan Sweeney - RF||Nick Green - SS|
|Mark Ellis - 2B||Aaron Bates - 1B|