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The Red Sox fell to the Athletics 6-2 Sunday, marking their sixth straight loss and second straight sweep on this West Coast road trip.
As per usual, the troubles started early for Red Sox pitchers. A leadoff walk to Coco Crisp set up Seth Smith to take a big hack on the third pitch he saw, a terrible cut fastball, and launch a two-run shot into the seats high above the center field wall. Not even an out was on the board.
Things would continue to get worse for Daisuke into the fourth. A second homer in the second on an almost identical pitch, another pair on three singles and two walks in the third, and another in the fourth. By the time the Red Sox pulled Matsuzaka for Andrew Miller, there were six runs on the board.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox offense sans-Ellsbury was doing about as well as the Red Sox offense with Ellsbury over the past two games. Brett Anderson never threatened a perfect game, with Dustin Pedroia singling in the first, but they had trouble putting together even two baserunners in an inning, and went 1-2-3 as often as not.
As the Boston Bullpen managed to settle down the Oakland offense, the Red Sox finally got on the board after loading the bases with one out in the sixth. Even then, however, Cody Ross' RBI single ended with the second out of the inning, as Scott Podsednik ran into an out at home, with just the one run a perhaps disappointing end to the frame.
The Sox would get little more from there, however, even as the pen continued to put up zeroes; only a Mauro Gomez sacrifice fly in the ninth got them to two runs. It's their best finish of the series, but at 6-2, it's hardly good.
The Red Sox are set to go again for some reason. I think it's because they hate us.
For those still, torturing yourselves, the on-field events.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 1, End 8th -- Mark Melancon manages to work around a leadoff double in the eighth, so at least the Sox will make this the best game of the series.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 1, Mid 8th -- Sean Doolittle does just as well as Ryan Cook, recording a 1-2-3 eighth against the bottom portion of the Boston lineup.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 1, End 7th -- More good stuff from Junichi Tazawa, who strikes out Yoenis Cespedes and Chis Carter on eight pitches before inducing a ground ball to end the inning.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 1, Mid 7th -- From their best inning of the night, the Sox fall right back into 1-2-3 form, with Ryan Cook doing the honors.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 1, End 6th -- Craig Breslow follows Andrew Miller with three quick outs, making it seem as though the bullpen will at least not be the disaster it was Friday.
Knock on wood.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 1, Mid 6th -- The Red Sox actually manage to score a run, but even that they manage to make a mess of. After a walk to Jose Iglesias, singles from Scott Podsednik and Dustin Pedroia loaded the bases with one out. Cody Ross followed with a line drive into left field that was easily enough to score the lead runner, but Podsednik rounded third and was out by a mile at home, cutting the inning shorter than it could have been.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 0, End 5th -- Andrew Miller offers up a walk to Derek Norris, but it's a blissfully clean inning with two pop-ups and a K besides.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 0, Mid 5th -- Stop me if you've heard this one before: the Red Sox go 1-2-3 in the fifth, with Ryan Lavarnway striking out pitifully on a pitch in the dirt to get it started.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 0, End 4th -- More of the same in the fourth, as the Sox see two singles and a walk load the bases before a ground ball managed to push the one run of the inning across. Andrew Miller enters the game in place of Daisuke afterward and manages to close out the inning with a strikeout.
Athletics 5, Red Sox 0, Mid 4th -- Nothing forthcoming from the Red Sox this time, even with Dustin Pedroia and Cody Ross both going in the inning. Who can blame them if they've given up at this point?
Athletics 5, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- This time it's nickle-and-diming that costs the Red Sox. Rather than long balls, the Athletics rely on three singles, two walks, and a sacrifice fly to score two more on the Red Sox. The Sox have been outscored 32-3 so far in this awful series.
Athletics 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- Pedro Ciriaco gives the Red Sox their second baserunner of the game, but that seems to be all they can do, with the rest of the inning going fairly easily for Brett Anderson.
Athletics 3, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- This time Diasuke's Awful Fastball™ is offered up to Stephen Drew. It's in just about the exact same spot as the one to Seth Smith, though the resulting blast comes with nobody on and ends up to right field rather than center. So at least they're mixing it up.
Atlhetics 2, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- With no Dustin Pedroia to break things up, the Sox go 1-2-3 in the top of the second. At least it's not a perfect game track like yesterday.
Athletics 2, Red Sox 0, End 1st -- It's more surprising these days when the Sox don't allow runs early. Especially with the likes of Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound. Seven pitches earn Coco Crisp a leadoff walk. Three pitches later, and Daisuke offers up a truly ugly cut fastball--one of those ones just beneath the letters which seems to dip only enough to put them on a perfect plane with the bat for purposes of crushing. Seth Smith takes full advantage of it, launching a home run that actually manages to get into the stands well over the center field fence for the 2-0 Athletics lead.
Red Sox 0, Athletics 0, Mid 1st -- Dustin Pedroia continues to be a rare bright spot on a truly dire Red Sox roster. His single in the first extends his hitting streak to 13 games. It comes with two outs, though, and when Cody Ross can't get the job done, the inning comes to an end. That's really the two-batter window for the Red Sox, sad though it may be.
The Red Sox will face the Oakland Athletics, trying to avoid a six-game losing streak and their second straight road sweep. First pitch is at 4:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
After being pushed back yesterday by A.J. Griffin, Brett Anderson will make the start for the Athletics. He's been untouchable in his first couple starts back from injury, and with the Red Sox hitting the way they are of late, seems likely to continue that run.
In fact, if things weren't bad enough for the Sox already,they've just gotten worse. With Jacoby Ellsbury's wrist bothering him, the center fielder will sit, drawing Scott Podsednik into center field, Pedro Ciriaco into left, Mauro Gomez to third, and James Loney to first. All while Mike Aviles plays DH.
Yes, we've gone from bad to worse, when it didn't necessarily seem possible.
Boston Red Sox (62-72)
Oakland Athletics (75-57)
The Red Sox suffered another bad defeat Saturday-though not so bad as the one they suffered Friday-falling 7-1 to the Oakland Athletics.
Much of the damage came in the first three innings against Felix Doubront, who's really just trying to stay afloat at this point in the season. It's been months since he's been right, and Saturday offered no change. A leadoff home run from Coco Crisp would be the warning shot in the first, and while Doubront managed to recover by striking out the side around a walk and an error in the second, things fell apart entirely in the third.
Doubront would actually almost manage to escape the inning without damage, with Scott Podsednik helping him out by catching Coco Crisp trying to score on a Jonny Gomes double. That would provide Doubront one out, and a strike out of Josh Reddick gave him his second, but Yoenis Cespedes did not go down so easily, slapping a single into left field to make it 2-0. A walk to Chris Carpenter put two on for Brandon Inge, who hit a long fly ball to right field. While Cody Ross seemed to be moving fast enough to catch up to it, the ball clanked off his glove as he attempted the running over-the-shoulder catch, and two more runs came in to score. Only after a Derrik Norris single made it 5-0 did the Sox get out of the inning.
Alfredo Aceves would enter the came and stir up some drama in the fourth, as numerous unexpected pickoff plays at second had Dustin Pedroia diving to try and keep the ball from the outfield. That was not all, as Aceves and Jarrod Saltalamacchia nearly collided going for the same foul ball, and the reliever even managed to get in a shouting match with an umpire over the state of a ball that had rolled all the way back to Aceves from the backstop. Cameras caught Aceves and Pedroia arguing in the dugout afterwards, being separated by Jerry Royster and Bobby Valentine, the latter of whom was essentially dismissed by Aceves.
Meanwhile, all was right in the world for A.J. Griffin, who had enjoyed four perfect innings and was working on the fifth when Jarrod Saltalamacchia stepped to the plate. With the shift on, Salty took the controversial step of bunting down the third base line for a single, earning boos from the crowd. He would not score, however, leaving Griffin's shutout intact.
The Sox would manage to score in the next inning, but it would come only thanks to a perhaps sympathetic home plate umpire, who called Pedro Ciriaco safe on a play at the plate when he seems to have been out. Still, it was just the one run, and the Athletics quickly responded with one off of Aceves, and another on a solo shot courtesy of Daniel Bard. The Sox mounted no further rallies, and fell 7-1.
Well, it can hardly get worse for the Red Sox after the 20-2 destruction they suffered Friday. For those who can stand to look, we'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Athletics 7, Red Sox 1, Mid 8th -- Another 1-2-3 inning brings the Sox close to the merciful end to another bad performance.
Athletics 7, Red Sox 1, End 7th -- The good new for Daniel Bard is that 94 MPH is faster than he threw his fastball last night. The bad news for Daniel Bard is that it's still 4 MPH off his old standard, about 7 off his old max, still straight as a line, and good for a leadoff homer.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 1, Mid 7th -- More struggles for the Red Sox, who really should be in the middle of (the wrong side of) a shutout right now. They go down in order in the seventh, ending with a ground out for Jarrod Saltalamacchia who decides now might not be the best time to try another bunt, even with the shift still on.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 1, End 6th -- Once more unto the breach goes Alfredo Aceves, working around a leadoff walk to keep the A's down once more. At this rate, this may not end up completely embarassing!
Athletics 6, Red Sox 1, Mid 6th -- The Sox finally get on the board, but it's only thanks to a bad call from the home plate umpire. Pedro Ciriaco tries to score from second on a Dustin Pedroia single, and while both the throw and tag seem to beat him to the plate, the umpire signals safe. Pity call?
Athletics 6, Red Sox 0, End 5th -- Aceves returns to the field after his dugout meltdown and coughs up a run in the fifth on a couple of singles with a steal mixed in.
Athletics 5, Red Sox 0, Mid 5th -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia earns himself a healthy chorus of boos by bunting to the vacated left side to pick up a single and break up the perfect game being tossed by A.J. Griffin. The baserunner goes for naught, too, with Griffin staying otherwise perfect the rest of the way.
Athletics 5, Red Sox 0, End 4th -- More drama for the Red Sox--just what they needed--as Alfredo Aceves and Dustin Pedroia have words following a messy but scoreless fifth. Multiple pickoff plays at second seem to test Dustin Pedroia, and a pop-up in foul territory has Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Aceves come close to a collision, with neither man able to come up with it likely due to the other's interference. Still, the Sox escape scoreless, which is about all they can ask for right now.
Athletics 5, Red Sox 0, Mid 4th -- More perfection from Griffin, who sits the Sox down so fast they may as well not have even bothered coming to the plate.
Athletics 5, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- And now we're really starting to see last night come again. Scott Podsednik saves a run after a leadoff single and double, throwing out Coco Crisp at home to try and pick up a struggling Felix Doubront, but to no avail. Even though Josh Reddick strikes out swinging, bringing the Sox one good at bat away from ending the frame harmlessly, Doubront surrenders a walk, a double that bounces off Cody Ross' glove when he can't get it up quickly enough on the run, and a Derek Norris single to make it 5-0 in favor of Oakland. Still, it's a better pace than was set last night. Progress!
Athletics 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- A.J. Griffin remains on a perfect game track, sitting down the bottom of the Red Sox lineup in order without a hard hit ball to be found.
Athletics 1, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- An errant throw costs Felix Doubront one baserunner, and a four-pitch walk to Brandon Hicks another, but he strikes out the other three batters he faces in the second to save the Sox from any further damage.
Athletics 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- The middle of the order does no better--worse even--than the top-three, with Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both striking out as part of another 1-2-3 frame
Athletics 1, Red Sox 0, End 1st -- I have seen this movie before, and I do not like where it is going. On just the fourth pitch of his outing, Felix Doubront has to turn and watch a fastball clear the fence in left off the bat of Coco Crisp for a solo shot. The young southpaw surrenders no more in the first, but it's a bad sign, and one that's all-too-familiar given Friday's mess.
Red Sox 0, Athletics 0, Mid 1st -- With a lineup featuring Scott Podsednik in the three-spot, you can't expect much. So in a way they met expectations by going down in order on 12 pitches, with Podsednik himself swinging at a 1-2 fastball and foul tipping it into Derek Norris' glove for out number three.
The Red Sox will look to even their series against the Athletics at one game a piece, but after the 20-2 defeat they suffered last time, they'll likely be happy with anything reasonable. First pitch is at 9:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN, the MLB Network, and WEEI.
in the long line of lows this team has suffered through, it's hard to say which is lower: losing 20-2 to Oakland, or batting Scott Podsednik third the day after. Right now, I'm leaning towards the latter. Podsednik, keep in mind, is a 36-year-old outfielder with little-to-no power who has had trouble even sticking with a major league side. He's got a ridiculous average so far this year, but that's based as much on luck as anything else, and frankly he's not the sort of bat who should be hitting anywhere but the bottom three.
Here is though, batting third as Bobby Valentine shifts Ellsbury and Pedroia back up to the 1-2 spot. Is it time for brown bags, Red Sox fans?
Boston Red Sox (62-71)
Oakland Athletics (74-57)
In what is almost certainly a new low, the Red Sox fell to the Oakland Athletics 20-2
Aaron Cook started the game, shockingly enough, with a 1-2-3 inning. But it was a frame which hinted at the horror to come, as the Athletics put the ball in the air three times, which is never a good sign for the ground ball "specialist."
The runs would start scoring in the second, when line drives gave the Athletics three straight hits before Josh Donaldson capped it off with a two-run homer to make it 4-0. Two more would come across in the third before Cook was finally yanked for Junichi Tazawa.
Tazawa, for his part, would record four outs with no baserunners mixed in. He would be the only effective Red Sox pitcher of the night. After he left, Aceves gave up two in his inning on the loudest of Brandon Moss homers, Daniel Bard had an unsuccessful return when he offered up a solo shot in his, and then Craig Breslow and Mark Melancon went completelyoff the rails, giving up nine runs (eight earned) between them.
Shockingly, former Sox farmhands Josh Reddick, George Kottaras, and Brandon Moss combined for nine hits, including three doubles, and four home runs. Reddick was the only one of those who was ever more than a Quadruple-A type.
It's the biggest Red Sox loss in over a decade, and really just a shocking performance by everyone not named Junichi Tazawa.
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The Red Sox and Athletics are ready to kick off a three-game weekend set in Oakland as Aaron Cook takes the mound against Brandon McCarthy.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in the Coliseum.
Athletics 18, Red Sox 2, End 7th -- Yeah...so that happened. Craig Breslow came in, things got messy, Mauro Gomez made an error, Mark Melancon came in, Josh Reddick hit a grand slam...
I think somewhere along the line a goat entered play. There may have also been a rendition of the HMS Pinafore. I honestly don't know. What are we doing again?
Athletics 9, Red Sox 2, Mid 7th -- How do you get Jose Iglesias off the .000 OBP schneid? You plunk him, that's how! Iglesias' HBP along with a Pedro Ciriaco single get the Sox another pair of baserunners, and this time they actually manage to score a run with a wild pitch and Mauro Gomez ground out. Progress!
Athletics 9, Red Sox 1, End 6th -- How do you make this game worse? Bring Daniel Bard into it to surrender a home run while looking a lot like the pitcher who left to the minors a couple months back. It's just depressing to see what's become of him. His velocity is gone, and with it his control.
Athletics 8, Red Sox 1, Mid 6th -- Dustin Pedroia and Cody Ross both reach base with singles, but just as in the first and second innings the Sox simply can't come through with men on. That's the failing of a thin lineup, which nobody will deny the Red Sox have right now.
Athletics 8, Red Sox 1, End 5th -- Alfredo Aceves has not only lost his job as a closer, but he might be on the path to being non-tendered come the offseason. A two-run shot to infinity and beyond from Brandon Moss makes it an 8-1 game in favor of Oakland, with the Sox' pitching staff looking once again completely outmatched.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 1, Mid 5th -- Nothing doing for Boston in the top of the fifth, as McCarthy returns to form against the top of the order.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 1, End 4th -- Junichi Tazawa, who picked up the last out of the third, continues to roll right along, striking out two in a 1-2-3 fourth inning. He's been absolutely fantastic for the Red Sox this year, hopefully setting himself up for a bigger role than mop-up duty in the 2013 pen given his 29 strikeouts, 4 walks, and 1.72 ERA.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 1, Mid 4th -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia hits a monster blast in the fourth with the bases empty to get the Red Sox on the board, but it's just a drop in the relatively sizable bucket they need to fill.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- More of the same for Aaron Cook, who is frankly lucky that he surrenders just two more runs on two doubles and a single given that just about every man to step up to the plate hit the ball very hard indeed.
Athletics 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- Boston is going in the wrong direction offensively, as Brandon McCarthy enjoys his first clean inning tonight against the top of the order.
Athletics 4, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- The ill omens from the first inning show their teeth in the second. Line drive after line drive start the inning, providing two runs before Cook can get an out. The next batter, Josh Donaldson, doesn't exactly hit a line drive, but it probably would have been better if he did. Instead, Donaldson bounces a ball off the stands past the wall in center field for a two-run shot that leaves the Red Sox in an early 4-0 hole.
Red Sox 0, Athletics 0, Mid 2nd -- More wasted baserunners for the Sox. This time they don't get two on until the already have one out on the board. The second out comes on a ground ball that moves the runners to second and third, but Jose Iglesias is still in search of his first hit, with Jose Iglesias hitting a flair to second that Cliff Pennington gloves for the out.
Red Sox 0, Athletics 0, End 1st -- Not exactly how Cody Ross needs to work, but three fly balls earn the ground ball specialist a clean inning all the same, and after their recent run of first inning failures, the Sox will take the early outs anyway they can get them.
Red Sox 0, Athletics 0, Mid 1st -- In one of the most Red Sox at bats of the year, Jacoby Ellsbury takes a two-on, nobody out situation following singles from Scott Podsednik and Dustin Pedroia, and throws it right out. An easy ground ball to first base provides one quick out with a step on the bag, and a second as former Red Sox Brandon Moss throws to second where Stephen Drew applies the tag for out number two. Cody Ross goes down on a fly ball, and just like that the inning is over.
The Red Sox will try to slow down a rolling Athletics team Friday night as they send Aaron Cook to the mound against Brandon McCarthy. First pitch is at 10:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia will take back his place behind the plate with Aaron Cook on the mound as Ryan Lavarnway takes a seat on the bench. Lavarnway had been hitting reasonably well for the past week, but even just the 0-for-3 from Thursday's game makes his last six look relatively bad.
Mike Aviles will take over at DH despite the presence of the right-handed Brandon McCarthy on the mound. Jose Iglesias will play the role of SS, with Pedro Ciriaco standing at third, giving Aaron Cook an impressive defensive infield to work with should he be able to get his ground balls.
Boston Red Sox (62-70)
Oakland Athletics (73-57)
The Red Sox will head into Oakland trying to slow the Athletics down as Oakland starts the final push to the playoffs.
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