Previewing the three game series between the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics.
The Boston Red Sox (18-13) host the Oakland Athletics (14-18) at Fenway Park for a three game series this week.
Boston returns home from the Bronx, where they dropped two out of three to the New York Yankees over the weekend. Although, David Ortiz would still like to have a word with a certain home plate umpire about how Friday night’s game should have ended.
It was the first time the Red Sox had lost a road series this season, dropping them a half game behind the Baltimore Orioles for the top spot in the AL East.
The A’s come to town struggling to climb back to .500, having lost seven of their last ten games. They also have posted a -24 run differential, which is third worst in the American League.
- Veteran right-hander Sean O’Sullivan will get his first start in a Red Sox uniform during this series. He replaces Henry Owens, who was demoted back to Pawtucket following three underwhelming outings. The Red Sox are the fifth team that O’Sullivan has played for in his 7-year career. The journeyman posted an ERA north of 6.00 over 13 starts for the Philadelphia Phillies last season and he owns a 5.96 ERA for his career. With Eduardo Rodriguez‘s return on the horizon, this may end up being O’Sullivan’s only start before he gets bounced from the rotation.
- Interesting tidbit from manager John Farrell. If Mookie Betts ever needs a day off, he wouldn’t hesitate to use Xander Bogaerts in the lead-off spot. Betts has started all 31 games this season, so a routine day of rest could be coming. In his career, Bogaerts has hit in every spot in the order except for lead-off.
- The Red Sox finished the month of April with the fewest home runs in the league (19). In 7 games so far this month, Boston leads the league with 13, including 4 homers in Sunday night’s win against the Yankees.
- David Ortiz is second in the league with 9 home runs and 27 RBI. He’s also third with a 1.066 OPS. He may be 40 years old, but he’s a young 40 years old.
- Sonny Gray is coming off of a career year where he finished third in Cy Young voting. His breakout season enticed the Red Sox to show interest in him over the winter, but maybe it’s a good thing they didn’t give up the farm for the 26-year old. He’s struggling this season, posting a 4.84 ERA through six starts. Control issues have been the culprit for his woes, as he’s walking 4.1 batters per nine innings and giving up nearly twice as many home runs per nine innings as he did a year ago.
Red Sox: Brock Holt
2016 Season (25 Games): .282/.354/.388, 2 HR, 17 RBI
Career vs A’s (12 Games): .302/.375/.326, 4 RBI
The Brock Star has recovered from a slump to collect 5 hits in his last 14 at-bats (.357). Holt’s batting average plummeted to as low as .246 during his recent slide, but has now bounced back to the range he has been at in his two previous seasons with the Red Sox.
Athletics: Josh Reddick
2016 Season (31 Games): .319/.375/.474, 4 HR, 15 RBI
Career vs Red Sox (24 Games): .294/.354/.506, 4 HR, 17 RBI
The former Red Sox outfielder is having a career year so far. While he hasn’t quite displayed the type of power he has in the past, his AVG, OBP and SLG are all at career levels. He’s done some damage against his former team in the past, so Red Sox pitchers will need to be wary of Reddick when he steps to the plate in this series.