A's offense looks to remain hot vs. Lackey, Sox


A's offense looks to remain hot vs. Lackey, Sox

April 19, 2011

BOSTON (5-10) vs.
A's (8-8)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on CSN Plus

OAKLAND (AP) -- The Oakland Athletics' offense has stepped up over the last two games, and John Lackey looks to slow it down - much like he has throughout his career.

Lackey takes the mound Tuesday night when the Boston Red Sox visit Oakland to start a two-game set.

NEWS: Spotlight on the Red Sox

The right-hander has beaten the Athletics more than any other team, going 17-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 31 career starts.

However, Lackey (1-1 15.58 ERA) struggled in his first two starts of 2011, allowing 15 runs in 8 2-3 innings. He gave up six runs in five innings April 8 in Boston's 9-6 win against the New York Yankees, and manager Terry Francona opted to skip his turn in the rotation after Thursday's game against Tampa Bay was rained out.

Opponents are hitting .395 against Lackey, but pitching coach Curt Young believes he'll be ready to go despite the long layoff.

"He's a guy that has great command, great aptitude for pitching, and like I said, he knows Tuesday will be here in a hurry," Young told MLB.com. "Ten days feels like a long time when you're a starting pitcher like that, but he's a guy that has such great command, I don't think there should be any issues."

The Red Sox (5-10) will be looking for their fourth straight victory after beating Toronto 9-1 on Monday in their best offensive performance of the season. Boston pounded out a season-high 13 hits, led by Jed Lowrie's 4-for-5, four-RBI outing.

NEWS: MLB standings

Lowrie, who is 8 for 14 with two homers and seven RBIs during Boston's win streak after being inserted into the starting lineup, downplayed his torrid hitting.

"You don't think about it," said Lowrie, who is 9 for 28 (.321) with 10 RBIs lifetime versus the A's. "You just continue to do what you're doing and go out there and just let it happen."

Oakland (8-8) got a boost from its offense over the weekend, scoring 11 runs in victories Saturday and Sunday against Detroit.

Josh Willingham drove in two runs and Mark Ellis doubled twice in Sunday's 5-1 win, giving the Athletics two straight home wins after losing four of their first five in Oakland.

REWIND: Cahill dominant for A's in win over Tigers

"Big offense, up and down the lineup," manager Bob Geren said. "Great win going into the off-day. Just a nice way to finish off the weekend."

However, the offense has provided little for left-hander Brett Anderson (0-1, 2.29 ERA) in his three starts, giving him three total runs of support in his 19 2-3 innings pitched. He allowed three runs in 5 2-3 innings against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday and left trailing 3-1 before Oakland rallied for a 7-4, 10-inning win.
REWIND: Stunning late rally lifst A's over White Sox

Anderson has been solid versus Boston, going 3-1, 2.61 ERA lifetime. After losing his first career start against the Red Sox, he's 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA and 24 strikeouts in the last four.

Anderson and Lackey faced each other Sept. 11, with Anderson earning a 4-3 victory. Lackey allowed three runs in seven innings, while Anderson also pitched seven and yielded two.

Oakland has won four of the last five meetings.

Rudy Gay 'ahead of schedule' in recovery from ruptured Achillies

Rudy Gay 'ahead of schedule' in recovery from ruptured Achillies

Rudy Gay has been MIA since leaving the locker room on crutches following the Kings loss to the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 18. He’s posted a few instagram videos of his recovery from a devastating left Achilles rupture, but until Friday night in Oakland, he had been away from the team.

“I’m out of the boot, second stage of my rehab, ahead of schedule and feeling good,” the 30-year-old wing told CSN California’s Kayte Christensen.

According to Gay, he is able to due weight bearing exercises, including some light squats. The 11-year NBA vet is still a ways away from returning to the court, but if he’s ahead of schedule, that means he might be ready for training camp come late September.

It’s not the same group he left behind. DeMarcus Cousins is gone, as is Matt Barnes and Omri Casspi. If he were still playing, Gay would likely be sitting out games for planned rest like most of the Kings’ veterans, but he doesn’t have that luxury.

Gay is entering the final year of his contract in Sacramento. He is due $14.3 million next season, but he has a player option and can become an unrestricted free agent if he so chooses. His recovery will likely dictate whether he opts in to his contract or whether he looks for a long-term deal either with the Kings or elsewhere.

Before the injury, Gay was the Kings’ second leading scorer, posting 18.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 33.8 minutes per night.


Injured Michael Morse will stick with Giants, work way up from Triple-A

Injured Michael Morse will stick with Giants, work way up from Triple-A

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Michael Morse isn't ready to give up on his comeback. 

Morse, sidelined by a hamstring injury, said he will continue to rehab with the organization, with the plan of eventually going to Triple-A and working his way up to the big leagues. Morse hasn't played since getting hurt March 20 in Glendale. He was initially given a two-to-three week diagnosis, but because he wants to let the strain heal completely, he anticipates missing closer to a full month. 

Morse said he's on the same page with general manager Bobby Evans. He will get healthy at the minor league facility in Scottsdale.

"I'll then go to Triple-A and play games and figure it out from there," he said. "I'm going to get healthy and play some games and if that point the team is 20-0, I know I probably won't get called up. If they need me, that'd be great."

The Giants are hopeful it works out. Before getting hurt, Morse had three spring homers and was in position to make the opening day roster. Without Morse, the Giants are light on right-handed power options for the bench.