Rapid Reaction: A's 6, Red Sox 2
September, 2, 2012
By Jeff Fletcher, Special to ESPNBoston.com
OAKLAND -- On the bright side, the Red Sox don’t have to play in California any more this season.
They completed a disastrous six-game swing through Anaheim and Oakland with a 6-2 loss to the A’s on Sunday afternoon. Boston has lost all six games on their road trip and has been outscored 54-15.
The Red Sox, who look for better things in Seattle on Monday, gave up multiple runs before scoring in each of the six games. In five of them, their starter gave up a run before recording an out.
The Red Sox have trailed by at least four runs at the end of 32 of the 54 innings on the trip, including 21 of the 27 in Oakland.
Dice-K’s day: The Red Sox needed a good start to take some of the pressure off their battered pitching staff and Daisuke Matsuzaka failed to deliver. He gave up a two-run homer to the second batter of the game, Seth Smith. He got knocked out in the fourth inning, having failed to put up a single zero. He was charged with six runs, the most he had allowed all year. Matsuzaka has given up 11 runs in 4 2/3 innings against the A’s this season.
A bad trend: The Red Sox have allowed first-inning runs in five of the six games so far on the trip. It’s been an issue all season. The Red Sox have allowed 112 first-inning runs, the most in the majors. The A’s, by contrast, have allowed 49 first-inning runs, the fewest in the majors.
Not much offense: Although Red Sox pitching has rendered the offense’s performance almost meaningless, it’s worth noting that the hitters didn’t do much either. They had four hits in the first two innings on Friday, and since then had 15 hits in 25 innings, only two for extra bases.
Silver lining: Dustin Pedroia ran his hitting streak to 13 games with a three-hit game. Pedroia has 999 career hits.
Not so bad either: Manager Bobby Valentine admitted he “not very” comfortable with infielder Pedro Ciriaco playing left field, but Ciriaco handled everything hit to him. He even made a nice play cutting off a single in the fourth inning and made a strong throw to the plate.
Juggling: Only one player started all three games in the series in the same position and same spot in the batting order: Cody Ross, in right field, batting cleanup. That is as strong a statement as any about where the Red Sox are now.
Former Sox, almost: The Red Sox allowed a homer to a former Boston player in each of the first two games of the series, but the closest they came on Sunday was giving up a homer to Stephen Drew, the younger brother of J.D. Drew.
What’s next: The Red Sox head north to Seattle, for the start of a three-game series against the Mariners. Right-hander Clay Buchholz (11-4, 4.50) starts for the Red Sox, while Seattle counters with left-hander Jason Vargas (13-9, 3.90). The Labor Day matinee starts at 4:10 p.m. ET. The good news for the Red Sox is they will miss Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in the series.