Oakland lost yet again tonight, falling to the Boston Red Sox 10-1 on Wednesday at Fenway Park.
For the second straight day, the offense couldn’t score except a solo home run, again off the bat of an older DH. And again, the Red Sox jumped all over the starting pitcher and chased him early. After three cities and nine games, the A’s seem like could use a homecoming, until you remember they’re 7-23 at home, the only team in the majors still in single-digits for home wins.
First four innings
There were some baserunners here and there for the A’s, getting guys on in each of the first three innings. They even got a player in scoring position thanks to a Ramon Laureano double, but couldn’t cash in on the 2-out hit, or anything else for that matter. They went down 1-2-3 in the fourth.
Meanwhile, for the second day in a row, the Red Sox scored in each of the first four frames, this time off James Kaprielian. After getting the first out of the game, the Red Sox loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a single. A hard-hit groundball snagged by Tony Kemp allowed the A’s to get at least one out, but also allowed the first run of the game to come in for Boston. Another walk reloaded the bases before Kaprielian escaped the inning thanks to a sweet shoe-string catch by Luis Barrera in right field.
He didn’t walk anyone in the second, but a single and home run off the bat of Rafael Devers on a hanging changeup, his second home run in as many days, put more distance between the two teams.
The third saw more hard-hit balls off Kaprielian, including a leadoff double and RBI single to make it 4-0. Kap reached back into the tank and struck out the next two batters, walked his fourth batter of the game, and induced a groundout to end the inning, doing good to limit the damage to just the one run.
It was more of the same the next inning as a pair of leadoff walks and a pair of flyouts brought in the fifth run for Boston, then back-to-back singles brought in another and ended Kap’s day.
- James Kaprielian: 3 2⁄3 IP, 7 H, 6 R (5 earned), 6 BB, 2 K, 94 pitches
After walking four batters total in his last five starts, the season-high six walks we saw from Kaprielian today were hugely uncharacteristic. When he wasn’t wild, the balls in the zone were getting barreled by Red Sox batters. Even if he had gotten out of the fourth, his pitch count meant the bullpen was going to need to cover five innings for the second consecutive day, and at the tail-end of a nine-game road trip, those arms probably could have used a longer start. This is a good chance for him to practice forgetting.
Final five frames
The fifth saw Oakland’s second scoring chance, getting back-to-back two-out singles, including Jonah Bride’s first Major League hit!
Some tough luck ended the rally after Laureano hit a ball hard right to the first baseman to end the scoring opportunity. Facing Josh Winckowski, a rookie making his second career start after getting roughed up in his first one, the A’s could only manage four hits and a walk.
Even rolling, there was a pitch count for the Red Sox righty and he had reached it. Boston turned to the bullpen the next inning, going with former Athletic Jake Diekman for the top of the sixth. The lefty got the first two, no problem, but Mark Kotsay pinch-hit the left-handed Stephen Vogt with the right-handed Matt Davidson, and boy was that the right call:
That bomb assured there would be no shutout for Boston today. The inning ended after the next batter, but at least Oakland was on the board.
The bullpen was pretty up and down tonight. A.J. Puk, who relieved Kaprielian, threw a scoreless inning-plus, but Domingo Acevedo, who leads the A.L. in relief appearances, got stung in his inning of work on a 2-run shot from Alex Verdugo to make it an 8-1 deficit. Lefty Sam Moll had the seventh and pitched a perfect inning racking up three strikeouts, while Lou Trivino, who the A’s are desperate to get right, allowed four hits and a pair of runs, including two doubles.
The top of the seventh saw Oakland get a pair of 1-out singles from Barrera and Bride (his second hit!), so if the A’s were going to mount an impossible comeback, here would have been a good start. It was not meant to be, though, as Kemp grounded into a double play to end the inning. They went down in order in the eighth and ninth to end this one.
The A’s are the coldest team in baseball right now, now having lost three in a row and 16 of their past 18. At least the road trip is ending tomorrow. It’ll be an early AM start time, with Paul Blackburn getting the ball for the A’s. He’s as good a bet as anyone on the staff to play stopper and help end this skid, and he’ll be opposed by former Athletic Rich Hill. See you all then!