Records Entering Series: OAK (19-21, 4th in AL West), BOS (28-12, T-1st in AL East)
Boston took 2 of 3 from Toronto in their last series and finally return home to Fenway after their season-long 10 game, 11 day road trip to take on the A’s.
Oakland has been a more or less average team thus far, sitting right around .500, but has played tough against some good teams. They won 2 of 3 in Oakland the last time these two teams played, and just stole a game from the Yankees in the Bronx in their previous series.
It should be a well fought 3-game set in Boston, with the Red Sox looking to take at least 2 of 3 at home.
Game Times and Pitching Matchups
Game 1: 7:10 pm EST, Sean Manaea (4-4, 2.11) vs. Rick Porcello (5-0, 2.79)
Game 2: 7:10 pm EST, Daniel Mengden (2-4, 4.06) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (3-0, 4.58)
Game 3: 7:10 pm EST, Kendall Graveman (1-5, 7.60) vs. Chris Sale (3-1, 2.17)
Hitters to Watch
OAK: Jed Lowrie – Lottie continues to lead the A’s offense by batting .340 with 9 HR and 36 RBI. He’s changed his swing to incorporate a little more of an upward angle (which explains the uptick in power numbers), and that’s lead to 35 K’s on the season, so he’ll be susceptible to a poor series with Porcello, E-Rod and Sale, 3 pitchers capable of racking up a lot of K’s, going for Boston.
BOS: Jackie Bradley, Jr. – JBJ has started 2018 in the worst form of his career, hitting just .171 thus far. He was benched by Alex Cora for 3 games, but came back in the final game of the Toronto series to reach base twice, steal a base, and score a run. Keep an eye on him to see if he’s beginning to put it together and go on one of his streaks.
Pitchers to Watch
OAK: Blake Treinan – If Oakland is going to win any games this series, they’ll likely be tight contests, meaning their closer, Treinan, could see a couple of appearances. His 0.98 ERA is very good, but with a WHIP of 1.31, he allows plenty of opportunities for opponents to score.
BOS: Hector Velazquez – Velazquez has been excellent so far, but with Steven Wright and Tyler Thornburg returning, there will be 2 pitchers that have to go. Velazquez will probably be unavailable in game 1 of this series after pitching 3 innings in the last 2 days, but if he sees any time, a strong performance will likely put his permanent place on the team beyond any doubt.
Matchup to Watch: Sean Manaea vs. Rick Porcello
The last time Manaea faced Boston, all he did was throw a no-hitter. He’s been one of the bigger surprises of 2018, with a 2.11 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP. Porcello has arguably been even better, though. He’s currently 5-0 with a 2.79 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP, and he’s held opponents to a .214/.254/.297 slash line. The two face off in the opener in what is sure to be the premiere pitching matchup of the series.