July 4, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits a single during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

A's Face Tough Red Sox Team in Possible ALCS Preview

While they may not have the representation at the All-Star Game next week to show for it, the Oakland Athletics have been one of the best teams in baseball, and what better way to go into the break than to face the one team in the American League with a better record?

The Boston Red Sox are atop the American League at 57-37, and the fans at O.co Coliseum will be abuzz at the thought of witnessing a possible playoff matchup.

John Lackey will be on the mound for the Sox, and the veteran right-hander has recovered from an biceps strain early in the season to accumulate a 6-6 record with a 2.80 ERA. He’s gone at least seven innings in each of his last five starts, and the 34-year-old has a lifetime record of 18-6 against the A’s after spending 11 years with the Angels in the AL West.

Jarrod Parker will pitch for Oakland, and he’ll be facing a Boston offense that leads all of baseball in runs, hits, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The right-hander hasn’t lost since May 22 against the Rangers, although he hasn’t recorded a decision in three of his last four outings. He’s 2-0 for his career against the Red Sox.

Parker was displaying his best stretch of performances of the season until his hamstring cramped up against the Cardinals on a warm Sunday afternoon in Oakland on June 29. He seemed to be favoring it a bit in his last start against the Royals, so it will be interesting to see if it affects him at all tonight.

Jacoby Ellsbury is in the midst of a 19-game hitting streak for the Red Sox, and the organization has three players in the Midsummer Classic with David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Clay Buchholz all being named to the AL roster. Ortiz set the record for career hits by a designated hitter last Wednesday in Boston’s 11-4 win over the Mariners.

Oakland’s offense was lacking in their last series against the Pirates, and they put up only four runs over the three-game set and were shutout in the final game, so they’ll be looking to get back on track at home, where they’ve won 18 of their last 22.

Game time tonight is 7:05 PST.

 

LINEUPS

Boston Red Sox

1. J. Ellsbury CF

2. S. Victorino RF

3. D. Pedroia 2B

4. D. Ortiz DH

5. M. Napoli 1B

6. D. Nava LF

7. J. Saltalamacchia C

8. J. Iglesias SS

9. B. Holt 3B

 

Oakland Athletics

1. C. Crisp CF

2. J. Jaso C

3. J. Donaldson 3B

4. J. Lowrie SS

5. Y. Cespedes LF

6. B. Moss 1B

7. J. Reddick RF

8. S. Smith DH

9. E. Sogard 2B

 

 

 

 

Tags: American League Boston Red Sox Game Preview MLB Oakland Athletics

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