A's bring motivated ex-Red Sox to Boston

A's bring motivated ex-Red Sox to Boston
April 22, 2013, 1:30 pm
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INSIDE THE MATCHUP
- The Athletics have won each of the last eight meetings between these teams, while outscoring the Red Sox 54-15 in those contests.
- The Red Sox have lost each of their last two games after winning each of their previous seven contests. Boston's pitching staff owns the second-best ERA among AL clubs this season (2.83).
- The Athletics have been outscored 17-4 during their current three-game losing streak. Oakland leads the majors in extra-base hits this season with 67.
- A.J. Griffin is 9-1 with a 2.90 ERA in 18 career starts and is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two career starts against the Red Sox. This will be Griffin's first career start in Boston.
- Felix Doubront is 0-2 with a 12.86 ERA in two career starts against the A's (both in 2012) and is 0-4 with an 8.14 ERA in five career starts against AL West opponents overall.
- Grant Balfour has converted each of his last 21 saves which is tied for the third longest streak in A's history. Balfour's last blown save came back on April 29, 2012.

The Oakland Athletics trip to Boston takes on extra meaning after the events of last week at the Boston Marathon. Several A's players have ties to the Boston area and the weight of what happened throughout the week in that area won't be lost on them.

On Monday, Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss and coach Tye Waller visited with victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, including a boy named Aaron Hern from Martinez. Reddick and Moss both played for the Red Sox.

First baseman Nate Freiman grew up along the route of the Boston Marathon, center fielder Coco Crisp played there for three seasons, and shortstop Jed Lowrie spent four seasons with the Red Sox.

"Going back without anything happening was going to be exciting because I didn't go back last year," Lowrie said before the road trip. "Obviously with the events that have transpired it will be somber as well."

Ups and Downs:

The A's looked like they were on a roll before this road trip. They had the best record in the American League, and despite having Yoenis Cespedes on the DL, they were getting production from all facets of the team. The A's struggled mightily in Tampa Bay and were swept for the first time since their nine-game losing streak in 2012.

If there is a reason to believe they can bounce back in Boston, it's because the A's currently have an eight-game winning streak against the Red Sox. The streak obviously occurred last season, but a lot of the same players are around. It is the longest streak the A's have had against the Red Sox since 1932.

Big F-ing Papi:

David Ortiz fired up the fans at Fenway Park when he used the F-word as he addressed the crowd on the field for the first time since the final bombing suspect was apprehended. He also let his bat do the talking when he went 5 for 8 in his first two starts since returning from the disabled list. The Red Sox are playing with passion and emotion, and Ortiz is their leader. They could be a tough team to oppose at home.

The one that got away:

Moss was drafted by the Red Sox in 2002. They let him go and so did the Pirates and the Phillies, before he landed in Oakland's system. Now Moss has established himself as a starter in the Major Leagues. He holds no grudges over the Red Sox organization, but he sure has made them pay for it on the field.

Moss is 11 for 14 (.733) with three doubles, three homers, and nine RBI in five career games against the Red Sox.

Anderson ankle watch:

Brett Anderson is expected to take the mound on Wednesday against the Red Sox. He is recovering from a sprained right ankle that he suffered on Friday in Tampa Bay. Anderson threw a side session on Sunday and the River Cats held back starting pitcher Dan Straily, who was scheduled to start, just in case he was needed. Straily is expected to pitch on Monday, meaning the organization feels good about Anderson's chances of taking the mound when it's his turn. Anderson has a 1-3 record with a 5.93 ERA this year. The A's need their ace to return to form and health.

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