Game 30: A's at Red Sox - AL's best team invades Fenway for crucial series

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

The Boston Red Sox slid back into last place in the AL East following a double-header sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays. With the American League's best team coming to Fenway Park and momentum fading, this weekend could be a huge step in the right direction ... or a huge step backward.

Boston hosts the Oakland Athletics, who enter on the heels of a three-game sweep at Texas. Clay Buchholz is tasked with trying to halt the A's winning streak. Buchholz is 1-2 with a devilish 6.66 ERA this season. After a sluggish start in the first inning of his last outing, Buchholz knuckled down to earn his first win of the season. He went seven innings and gave up three runs on six hits in beating the Blue Jays - his best outing in quite some time.

Here's the Red Sox (13-16) lineup tonight (first pitch - 7:10 pm ET):

1) Pedroia, 2B
2) Victorino, RF
3) Ortiz, DH
4) Napoli, 1B
5) Sizemore, LF
6) Bogaerts, SS
7) Pierzynski, C
8) Middlebrooks, 3B
9) Bradley Jr., CF

Buchholz, P

Dan Straily takes the mound for the A's (18-10). Straily is 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA, but hasn't factored in a decision in his last three starts. The A's are 2-3 when he starts this year and he's given up at least three earned runs in four of his five starts.

Bad start to May
After a 13-13 record in April (0-1 in March), the Red Sox have already seen May start on a sour note. On the last day of April, a rain-out forced a double-header to be played on May 1. We know the result of those games. These next three days aren't any easier, as the A's are the best team in the AL and own the second-best record overall. The good news is the Sox are only three games back from first in the division.

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