The Boston Red Sox (51-31, 24-14 away) and the Oakland Athletics (48-35, 26-20 home) begin a three-game weekend series starting Friday night in California. Oakland owns a 2-1 advantage over the Red Sox in games already played this season.
The first pitch of Friday’s contest is at 9:40 p.m. EST inside Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, CA. According to oddsmakers, this game is a pick ‘em with a run total at 8.5.
Red Sox on Seven-Game Run
Boston carries a seven-game winning streak into the weekend series, two games shy of matching a run of victories they put together in April. With Thursday’s win, the Red Sox are 20-games over .500 and have the best record in the American League. Boston is the frontrunner in the AL East, 3.5 games clear of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez (6-4, 5.83 ERA, 1.41 WHIP) toes the rubber for the Red Sox, looking to build off a successful start in his last outing. The 28-year old held the New York Yankees to two runs over 6.0 innings, scattering five hits and striking out eight. The victory was Rodriguez’s first since the beginning of May.
Offensively, the Red Sox rank third in the majors with a .260 team batting average and second in runs scored (410). Third baseman Rafael Devers leads the majors with 69 runs batted in, and the young slugger leads Boston with 20 home runs. Outfielder J.D. Martinez is right behind Devers with 17 home runs and 55 RBIs.
Oakland Shaky Down the Stretch
Oakland aims to close out the first half of the season on a high note but has won just four of their last 12 games with ten games remaining before the break. The Athletics are in second place in the AL West, 1.5 games behind the Houston Astros.
Frankie Montas (7-7, 4.72 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) takes the mound for the A’s, trying to start his month of July off right. Montas threw 5.0 innings in his last outing, surrendering two earned runs on two hits with five strikeouts. This will be the 28-year old’s first time facing the Red Sox this season.
The A’s offense sits in the middle of the pack in the league, with a team batting average at .234. Oakland’s offensive production runs through first baseman Matt Olson. The slugger has hit 20 home runs and knocked in 53 RBIs, both team-highs.
The Boston Red Sox have been red hot over the last week of play, averaging 7.4 runs per game over their seven-game winning streak. Oakland’s shaky play over the last two weeks is a concern as the team tries to stay close to the Astros in the division standings.
Boston traveled across the country on Thursday evening, and even the travel won’t slow down this Red Sox offense. The Red Sox don’t hit lefties as well as right-handers, but we’ll roll with Boston when we can at little juice.
Prediction: Boston Red Sox ML