The Red Sox will kick off their second homestand of the season tonight against the Oakland Athletics. They’ll play three against the A’s before an off-day on Wednesday and will then welcome the first place Baltimore Orioles this weekend.
Clay Buchholz, 2-1, will get the series rolling against the A’s lefty Tommy Milone, 3-1, with a 2.00 ERA. Buchholz is off to a shaky start with his 8.87 ERA, and has allowed at least five runs in each of his games, but the offense has picked him up. Sox lefty Felix Doubront, 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA, will pitch on Tuesday May 1 against right-handed pitcher Jarrod Parker, 0-0 with a 1.42 ERA. To close out the series, Daniel Bard, 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA, will face Brandon McCarthy, at 1-3 with a 3.23 ERA.
On the season, the Athletics are 11-12 in second place, 5.5 games behind the first place Texas Rangers in the AL West. New center fielder, Yoenis Cespedes leads the team in home runs with five, RBI with 19, and stolen bases with four. Josh Reddick, who the Sox traded for closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney, is the A’s team leader in batting average at .267 and runs with 11. The A’s are playing without another new addition to their outfield/DH position, former Red Sox left-fielder Manny Ramirez who is waiting out a 100-day suspension for violating MLB’s drug policy. This is the only home series the Sox will play against the A’s, so unless both teams meet in the playoffs, Manny will not be coming back to Fenway.
The Red Sox are coming off a highly successful road trip. They swept the Minnesota Twins at the beginning of the week before taking the first three of four games against the Chicago White Sox over the weekend. Against the Twins, the Sox won 6-5, 11-2, then 7-6. InChicago, they won 10-3 in the first two games, 1-0 in the third game, but fell 4-1 in the last game of the series after White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd no-hit them into the seventh inning. Though they couldn’t finalize a sweep, Beckett pitched well and the bullpen has remained steady, especially now with Rich Hill back in the majors.
The Sox are now 10-11 on the season, 3.5 games behind the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays who are both 14-8 and tied for first. The New York Yankees are in third at 12-9 with the Toronto Blue Jays right behind them at 12-10. Though the Sox are in last place, this will likely not last, and now that they’ve been playing better, they will be happy to see April go and try to continue their recent success.
Tonight’s game starts at 7:10 inFenway Park.