#976 Oakland A'svs.#975 Boston Red Sox
Written by Chris Kubala
Boston Red Sox (21-18 SU, 19-20 RL, 18-19-2 O/U) vs. Oakland A’s (17-23 SU, 19-21 RL, 22-18 O/U)
MLB: Friday, May 19, 2017, O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California, 9:35 pm ET
Lines: Boston -189, Oakland +178; Over/Under: 7.5
It’s the continuation of a four-game series out on the west coast. The Boston Red Sox continue their road trip by playing the second game of a weekend set with the Oakland A’s Friday night. Boston came into the series after sweeping a brief two-game interleague set at St. Louis: the Red Sox claimed a 5-4, 13 inning win Wednesday night. Oakland was blanked 4-0 in the rubber game of their three-game series up in Seattle Wednesday. The pitching matchup for Thursday’s opener saw Hector Velazquez make his major league debut for Boston against Oakland’s Sonny Gray. First pitch was set for 10:05 pm ET.
Boston swept a two game set in St. Louis to set themselves up on a positive note for this series. The Red Sox rallied from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game with two runs in the seventh and two in the eighth. In the 13th inning, pinch hitter Chris Young drove in Mitch Moreland with the eventual winning run. Jackie Bradley Jr. (run, two RBI) hit his fourth homer of the year while Xander Bogaerts (run, RBI) tripled twice in the game for Boston. Rick Porcello took a no-decision after allowing four runs on nine hits with three walks and six strikeouts over six innings. Fernando Abad (1-0) threw two scoreless innings to get the win while Ben Taylor pitched the 13th for his first save.
Chris Sale takes the mound for his ninth start of the season for the Red Sox here. He is 4-2 with a 2.15 ERA, a 0.767 WHIP, 13 walks and 85 strikeouts over 58.2 innings of work this season. Sale picked up the win in his last start, which came Saturday at home against Tampa Bay. He threw seven innings, allowing three runs on two hits with two walks and 12 strikeouts in a 6-3 Boston win. Sale is 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA, a 0.76 WHIP, seven walks and 33 strikeouts over 21 innings in his last three starts. This is his 13th career appearance and eighth start against the A’s. Sale is 5-2 with one save, a 2.60 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP over 55.1 innings of work. He is 1-1 with a save, a 2.42 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP over 22.1 innings in five appearances, three starts, at the O.co Coliseum in his career.
Oakland had a chance to win the series against AL West rival Seattle but ended up having the bats go silent in the finale. The A’s finished with a pair of hits, both singles, in the game as they failed to put anything on the scoreboard. Ryon Healy and Trevor Plouffe were the lone Oakland hitters to get a base hit in the loss. Oakland hitters fanned a dozen times in the contest and failed to have a runner advance into scoring position. The nonexistent offense made a loser of Jesse Hahn (1-3): he allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts over five innings.
Kendall Graveman takes the mound for the eighth time this season for Oakland in this contest. He is 2-2 with a 3.95 ERA, a 1.244 WHIP with 11 walks against 27 strikeouts over 41 innings of work this season. Graveman took a no-decision in his last start, which came Sunday on the road against the Rangers. He threw 6.2 innings, allowing four runs on nine hits with one walk and two strikeouts. The A’s lost the game, 6-4. Graveman is 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA, a 1.59 WHIP, six walks and 11 strikeouts over 17 innings in his last three starts. He makes his fourth career appearance and third start against the Red Sox in this contest. Graveman has no record with a 1.35 ERA and a 1.275 WHIP over 13.1 innings of work against them. He is 8-10 with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.254 WHIP over 166.2 innings in 27 career starts at the O.co Coliseum.
The A’s have dropped five of six going into Thursday’s opener while Boston had two straight wins and triumphs in four of their last six. Sale has been electric so far and most people would say he’s been worth the price tag the Red Sox had to pay to acquire him in the offseason. He leads the AL in strikeouts and in WHIP so far: if Boston’s offense did a little more, he’d have six or seven wins. The A’s were silenced by Christian Bergman Wednesday night: that doesn’t inspire much confidence here. Take Sale and the Red Sox to get the win here.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.