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Game Thread #93: Oakland Athletics vs. Boston Red Sox

Well, if it's the playoffs you're hankering for, welcome to Oakland for this weekend's series between the red-hot Oakland Athletics and the Boston Red Sox, owners of the one and two spots in the American League. This last weekend before the All-Star break should be a doozy, as the A's will get some media attention if they play well. Expect big crowds at the stadium tonight, and expect a fun game.

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Well, here we go! Welcome to Friday night baseball in what will be a match-up of the top teams in the AL; the A's from the West and the Red Sox from the East. If the Pirates' series was an indication of the level of excitement of this 2013 team, this weekend's series should be off the hook. A home crowd, packed to the brim with fans sporting green and gold, taking on an already-bitter rival? Phenomenal. Meanwhile, the Tigers are helping us out in Detroit; they hold a 7-2 lead over the Rangers in the eighth.

The only wrench in the set-up tonight is the starting pitcher for the Red Sox, none other than John Lackey. It feels like it's true; and it is, Lackey leads all active pitchers against the A's, and has had an excellent season to date. He's the worst match-up imaginable for our fearless heroes, but all that does is add another layer to tonight's game. The A's will have to be perfect to beat him; at the plate, on the bases, and on the pitching mound. They are countering with Jarrod Parker, who is on a four-game winning streak of his own.

The A's are stacking the lineup with lefties; Jaso, Moss, Reddick, Smith and Sogard are all starters tonight, and they will try to break the Lackey hold on the A's with a win in the opener tonight. Get ready for a wild one!

Here are your lineups: