Oakland Athletics vs. Boston Red Sox
Dates: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 – Thursday, September 14, 2017
Location: Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Oakland just won four straight against the Astros after taking the series finale against the Angels just before. That’s now a five-game winning streak for the Athletics who needed to get back in the win column after an eight-game losing streak. The A’s are now giving young players a chance to establish themselves and there are two that’ve stood out: Boog Powell and Matt Olson. In their last 24-games, Powell is 23-for-67 with three homers and a .343/.408/.537 slash line. Olson is batting .317 in that time with 11 homers.
The Red Sox haven’t clinched the division and have a long way to go to do so. Because of that they’ll be highly motivated in this series despite playing a losing team. Boston took three of four against the A’s in Oakland earlier this year. In that series, however, the A’s were only outscored by two runs total. For now, however, Boston is playing better ball. They’re 23-13 since the start of August and have won four of their last five.
Game 1 Probable Pitchers – Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 7:10 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Sean Manaea ( Athletics ) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez ( Red Sox )
Like most southpaws, Sean Manaea has handled lefties well this year, but right-handers have given him a tough time, hitting .273 with 15 homers. Righty opponents are hitting at a .801 OPS clip against him in 2017. Nunez, Betts, Chris Young and others should be able to take advantage. Overall, Manaea is 10-9 with a 4.33 ERA elevated by a six run, one-third of an inning outing against Baltimore in mid-August. Since then, he’s thrown four games, allowing just eight runs in 23.2 innings.
Eduardo Rodriguez has shown his youth this year. We’ve seen flashes of how good he can be, but we’ve also seen him struggle with his control. The walks are down recently, but he has allowed five homers over his last four games. His last start was a good one, allowing two runs in six frames. Before that, however, he had back-to-back starts where he surrendered five runs. He did go eight innings, allowing three runs in a start against Oakland back in May.
Game 2 Probable Pitchers – Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 7:10 p.m. ET ( ESPN )
Jharel Cotton ( Athletics ) vs. Doug Fister ( Red Sox )
Jharel Cotton was the big piece back in the Rich Hill and Josh Reddick deal to the Dodgers last year and he looked good in a short stint in 2016. His 2017 season, on the other hand, has been a struggle. The right-hander is 7-10 with a 5.82 ERA in his 22 starts. It looked as Cotton may have turned the corner in August, but his first two starts in September tell a different story. In his last start, he allowed seven runs in five innings against Houston. He gave up four runs in four innings against Seattle the start prior.
With injuries to David Price, Steven Wright and others along the way, the Red Sox were desperate for starting pitching and gave Doug Fister a chance. He was shaky at first, but has been one of the team’s more consistent starters over the last month. The veteran right-hander has a 3.91 ERA and has been on-point over his last four starts. Beginning with a one hit, complete game, Fister has gone on a run where he’s allowed no more than two runs in a game and gone at least seven frames. In that time, he’s allowed five runs in 30 innings of work, including beating some good hitting teams like New York, Baltimore and Cleveland.
Game 3 Probable Pitchers – Thursday, September 14, 2017, 1:35 p.m. ET ( MLB Network )
Daniel Gossett ( Athletics ) vs. Drew Pomeranz ( Red Sox )
The rookie right-hander, Daniel Gossett, makes his first career start against the Sox in this one. He’s never faced any member of the Boston lineup. Typically, if the starter can make his pitches, that favors the pitcher as each curveball, change up and fastball acts differently and looks different to the hitter. That’s the positive side for the A’s. The negative side is the righty is 4-8 with a 5.02 ERA.
After a huge story in the first half last year, Drew Pomeranz’s strong season in Boston has largely gone under-the-radar. The lefty is 15-5 with a 3.35 ERA which leads the staff in the non-Chris Sale division. Pomeranz has been good both at home and on the road, but has faired better at Fenway which is impressive for a lefty given the Green Monster. Interestingly, he’s also shown reverse splits this year with opponents hitting .301 against him from the left side, but only .233 from the right.