Red Sox-Athletics Preview
If a team is seeking an encore for a shutout, sending to the
mound a pitcher riding a 17-inning scoreless streak isn’t a bad way
to do it.
That’s just what the Oakland Athletics will do Wednesday
afternoon, when Gio Gonzalez tries to pitch them to a two-game
sweep of a Boston Red Sox club still seeking its first road
Oakland’s .236 team batting average and 3.7 runs per game
wouldn’t normally be a recipe for victory, but the A’s are 9-8
thanks to a major league-leading 2.44 staff ERA. Two of their
starters – the same pair Boston (5-11) is facing in this series –
boast ERAs below two.
Oakland starters have allowed just one earned run over their
last five games – spanning 33 2-3 innings.
“It’s fun when we’re going good like that,” said Brett
Anderson, Tuesday’s starter and winner. “We want to feed off each
other and keep putting up zeros.”
Anderson limited the Red Sox to four singles and one walk over
eight innings of Oakland’s series-opening 5-0 victory, lowering his
ERA to 1.63. As impressive as that mark is, it’s more than triple
that of Gonzalez (2-0, 0.47 ERA), a 25-year-old left-hander who
finished with 15 wins and a 3.23 ERA last season but may now be
taking his game to a new level.
Gonzalez has thrown six shutout innings in each of his last two
starts to extend his scoreless streak to 17. Five days after
allowing four hits in a 1-0 win at Minnesota, he held Detroit to
two hits Thursday but received no run support in a game Oakland
eventually lost 3-0.
While he didn’t beat the Tigers, he still impressed Detroit
manager Jim Leyland.
“Their guy is really good,” Leyland told the A’s official
website. “He has a good, loose arm, a live fastball and a good
curve. I’ve seen him before, but that’s as good as I’ve seen
If Gonzalez has a weakness, it may be control. He walked six and
threw two wild pitches against the Tigers, and has issued 12 free
passes in 19 innings this season.
Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis is 4 for 8 against
Youkilis has been cold this April, though, batting .196 after an
0-for-4 effort with two strikeouts in the series opener. The Red
Sox appeared to be heating up after concluding a nine-game
homestand with three straight wins over Toronto, but suffered their
second consecutive 1-0 road loss Tuesday.
The Red Sox are 0-7 on the road for the first time in franchise
history, due largely to a .179 team batting average away from
“We’ll be all right,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “We
might be the first team to lose our first seven on the road and win
the next seven, who knows.”
They haven’t supported Wednesday’s starter Clay Buchholz (0-2,
6.60) very well, totaling five runs for him in his three starts.
However, Buchholz is still struggling to find the form he showed in
a breakthrough 2010 season, when he finished 17-7 with a 2.33
The right-hander allowed only three hits over five innings
Friday, but walked five and yielded three runs while not earning a
decision in a 7-6 loss to the Blue Jays.
Two of Buchholz’s worst outings last season came at Oakland,
where he went 0-2 and gave up 10 runs in five innings.
A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki is 4 for 7 with a double off Buchholz,
while designated hitter Hideki Matsui is 6 for 14 with three