The two best teams in the American League meet by the Bay, as the Boston Red Sox (57-37) finish their West Coast road swing at the Oakland Athletics (54-38). The A’s lead the AL West by a game over the Texas Rangers. Boston has guaranteed that it will be in first place in the AL East through the All-Star Break with a 3.5-game lead over Tampa Bay.
The Red Sox have won three straight after dropping three in a row and are 4-3 on the road trip. Arguably the Sox best pitcher of late, John Lackey, looks to keep it rolling in Oakland. Lackey is 6-6 with a 2.80 ERA after allowing two runs in seven innings in a loss to the Angels. In that game, though, he struck out nine and allowed only five hits. Opponents are batting just .243 against Lackey and he has gone at least seven innings in each of his last five starts. If the Red Sox bats keep pounding away like they have, he should have no trouble picking up his seventh win of the season.
Here is tonight’s lineup for the Red Sox (first pitch – 10:05 pm EDT):
1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Nava, LF
7. Saltalamacchia, C
8. Iglesias, SS
9. Holt, 3B
The Athletics will send Jarrod Parker to the mound to face the Red Sox. Parker is 4-0 over his last eight starts with a 2.24 ERA in that span. For the season, he is 6-6 with a 4.04 ERA.
Tying club records
The Red Sox 57 wins before the All-Star Break match the club’s all-time record, held by the 1978 and 2008 teams. This year’s squad has three games left to set a new mark. Likewise, the A’s have one of their best records in club history before the break, tying the 2003 club with 54 wins for the best in the last 25 years. Oakland also boasts MLB’s best record since July 1, 2012, with a 111-64 record.
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