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Game Thread #31: A's at Red Sox

Sonny Gray faces John Lackey at Fenway Park to salvage a game from this three-game set. Alberto Callaspo is out of the lineup after 24 consecutive starts.

Free Derek Norris? I'll take four!
Free Derek Norris? I'll take four!
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the Oakland Athletics put up three runs in the ninth inning against Boston Red Sox relievers Chris Capuano and Koji Uehara, showing some encouraging signs of breaking out of their Fenway funk. Sonny Gray pitches for the Athletics against the Red Sox today on the heels of his shutout last Monday against the Texas Rangers. The Red Sox will put John Lackey on the bump, who himself is coming off consecutive 8-inning starts.


Pre-Game Notes

  • The Red Sox today are celebrating Rhode Island Day at Fenway Park. Did you know that the full name of Rhode Island is "Rhode Island and Providence Plantations?" Now you know!
  • The A's start of 18-12 is their best mark after 30 games since the 1990 club started 22-8. The 1990 Oakland Athletics won the American League pennant.
  • Today marks the 35th day of the season, and the 35th day the Oakland roster has not had a rookie on it, the longest such streak since 2006, when they had no rookie for the 1st 36 days of the season.
  • There is a slight chance that rain may interrupt play at points during the afternoon. Expect very windy conditions, widely scattered showers with perhaps an isolated thunderstorm or two, according to the National Weather Service.

Today's Lineups

Coco Crisp - CF Dustin Pedroia - 2B
Jed Lowrie - SS Shane Victorino - RF
Josh Donaldson - 3B David Ortiz - DH
Brandon Moss - 1B Mike Carp - 1B
Yoenis Cespedes - LF A.J. Pierzynski - C
John Jaso - DH Xander Bogaerts - SS
Derek Norris - C Grady Sizemore - LF
Josh Reddick - RF Will Middlebrooks - 3B
Eric Sogard - 2B Jackie Bradley - CF
Sonny Gray - RHP John Lackey - RHP
Oakland Starter Sonny Gray (R) (4-1, 1.76 ERA, 6 starts)
  • Sonny Gray's 1.76 ERA is second in the American League.
  • Look out for the early innings: Of the 8(!) earned runs he has allowed in 35 innings, 5 have come in the 1st 3 innings of a game.
  • Look out for free passes to lefties: Has issued 25 of 34 walks to left-handed batters. The Red Sox are second in the American League in walks drawn, two behind Oakland.
Boston Starter John Lackey (R) (4-2, 3.83 ERA, 6 starts)

  • John Lackey has pitched essentially a season's worth of starts against the Athletics, thanks to his time with the Angels. He is 19-6 in 220⅔ innings pitched against Oakland over his twelve seasons pitching in the bigs.
  • In each of his 6 starts this year, he has struck out at least 5 batters, the 1st time he has accomplished that feat to begin a season.

Lineup Notes
  • John Jaso and Derek Norris are in the same lineup today, with Norris behind the plate. Norris remained in the game against a right-handed pitcher yesterday, presumably to try to take advantage of the Green Monster in left.
  • Alberto Callaspo is not in the starting lineup after making 24 consecutive starts, dating back to April 7. He has grounded into 5 double plays in his last 10 games.
  • The lefty hitter Mike Carp starts over righty hitter Mike Napoli at first base.
  • Josh Donaldson has reached safely via hit, walk, or hit by pitch in each of his last 25 games.
  • Derek Norris is 25 plate appearances short of qualifying for the batting title, but his average of .367 leads the American League amongst batters with 60 or more plate appearances.
  • This is the fifth consecutive game Daric Barton is not in the starting lineup, and the second against a right handed pitcher. Barton last appeared in the 8th inning of last Wednesday's finale of the sweep against Texas.
  • Today marks David Ortiz's 1,999th game.
Bullpen Watch
  • The A's bullpen ERA of 2.91 continues to lead the American League, ahead of Cleveland at 3.03.
  • Sean Doolittle has more innings pitched without allowing a walk than any other pitcher in the major leagues.
  • Red Sox relievers lead MLB in fewest inherited runners scoring, 14.9% (7 of 47).
  • I would guess that Dan Otero and Drew Pomeranz will be considered to be "unavailable" for the Athletics today.
Oakland Athletics
Pitcher Hand IP ERA Yesterday Recent Use
Jim Johnson R 12.0 5.25 Not used 3 days off
Ryan Cook R 9.2 1.86 Not used Friday - 17 pitches
Luke Gregerson R 15.2 2.87 17 pitches 2 days off prior
Dan Otero R 15.0 3.00 15 pitches 2 consecutive days
Fernando Abad L 11.2 0.00 Not used Friday - 17 pitches
Sean Doolittle L 13.2 5.27 11 pitches 3 days off prior
Drew Pomeranz L 13.2 1.98 Not used Friday - 56 pitches
Boston Red Sox
Pitcher Hand IP ERA Yesterday Recent Use
Koji Uehara R 11.2 1.54 16 pitches 2 of last 3 days
Edward Mujica R 10.0 9.00 Not used Friday - 17 pitches
Junichi Tazawa R 12.0 2.25 Not used 2 days off
Burke Badenhop R 17.2 3.57 Not used 2 days off
Andrew Miller L 11.2 2.31 Not used 2 of last 3 days
Craig Breslow L 7.0 6.43 Not used Friday - 18 pitches
Chris Capuano L 15.0 1.20 8 pitches 2 of last 3 days

Weird statistical facts courtesy of the Oakland Athletics and Boston Red Sox game notes.