Red Sox-Athletics preview
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Boston Red Sox have had their way with the Oakland A's this season. They're a perfect 5-0 and have outscored the A's 67-19.
The Red Sox will go for the season series sweep on Sunday afternoon at Oakland Coliseum, but right-hander Kendall Graveman, the A's best pitcher this year, will make his 27th start and try to salvage one win for Oakland in the series.
Graveman (10-9) is 9-3 with a 3.36 ERA in his past 17 starts after beginning the season 1-6 with a 5.36 ERA.
"We've played a lot of playoff contention teams in this little stretch I've had," Graveman said. "Pitched against Baltimore, pitched against Cleveland twice. It's fun to go out and compete. Every lineup's different, and they have a good one. You really have to study and pay attention to their hitters."
Graveman is 0-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two career appearances against the Red Sox, including one start, but he hasn't face them this year.
"You can't make mistakes to these guys, and it's one after the other," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "There's just no pause for even a breath against this lineup. They're just relentless, and I think we've seen them at their best, too."
One night after pounding out 17 hits in a 16-2 victory in the series opener, the Red Sox had 17 more hits in an 11-2 victory on Saturday, scoring in double figures for the fifth straight time against Oakland this season.
David Ortiz went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs. Rookie third baseman Yoan Moncada made his first career major league start and had his first two big league hits and first RBI. Hanley Ramirez hit his 20th home run of the season, a solo shot in the third. Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Sandy Leon and Jackie Bradley Jr. each had two hits.
"It's been awesome," right-hander Rick Porcello said of the Red Sox offense after winning his major-league high 19th game on Saturday. "From top to bottom, there's no weakness. Everyone's been swinging the bat well. We got to continue it on both sides, pitching and offense and defense. This is a big road trip for us and obviously this entire month is huge. Hopefully, we're peaking at the right time."
The Red Sox (76-59) moved into a tie for first place in the American League East with Toronto, which lost 7-5 to Tampa Bay.
Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (2-6) will make his 15th start in what has been an up-and-down, injury-plagued season. He missed the first 51 games of the season with a knee injury. Then two starts ago on Aug. 16 he had a no-hitter through four innings with seven strikeouts against Baltimore but left the game with a tight hamstring. He didn't start again until Aug. 28 and gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings in a loss to Kansas City.
Rodiquez was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket on June 28 but recalled July 15. In his first seven starts after being recalled, he went 1-2 with a 2.52 ERA.
"There's no physical restrictions here," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He's had a couple of start-and-stops this year and it's limited how long of a run he could get on. The most recent time that he came back to us, he strung together probably six or seven very good starts for us, and then the hamstring, unfortunately, caused us to push the pause button a little bit.
"What's transpired with Eddie is that the second half of the season he's come up with a more defined slider as a primary out pitch for him. But this is a guy that's blessed with very good stuff and three distinct pitches."
Last season, Rodriguez went 10-6 with a 3.85 ERA as a rookie.