Oakland is currently leading the wild card standings with the Baltimore Orioles and they didn’t seem poised to let any ground slip away on Friday night.
Some former Red Sox prospects like Josh Reddick, who hit a grand slam, Brandon Moss, who hit a home run, and George Kottaras, who belted two homers, combined for 13 of the A’s 20 RBIs on the night in an all-out rout.
Aaron Cook was trouble from the get-go and never settled into his sinkerball. Meanwhile, Brandon McCarthy was tested from the very first batter of the game, but Boston couldn’t seem to bring anyone around to score.
End 8th, Athletics 20-2: Vicente Padilla seemed to be just the guy to get this into the ninth and have this game over with already. But former Sox catcher George Kottaras had other ideas.
Kottaras belted his second home run of the game, only his sixth on the season, and opened the A’s lead to 20-2.
Mid 8th, Athletics 18-2: What looked to be the semblance of another rally opportunity for the Sox only continued to disappoint.
Ellsbury and Ross reached base, but a double play followed by a Salty groundout ended any hopes at getting back some of the embarassing 16-run deficit.
There have been a lot of rough patches for the Red Sox this season, but this very well may be the most troubling of them all. Ouch!
End 7th, Athletics 18-2: Boom goes the dynamite … on the Red Sox season. Again.
This has seriously been former Red Sox taking revenge on Friday.
After Brandon Moss took a ball deep earlier in the night, George Kottaras decided to take his turn in the sixth. But then it was Josh Reddick with a grand slam to only add onto the disgrace of this one.
Mid 7th, Athletics 9-2: Brandon McCarthy gave up a single to Ciriaco and then plunked rookie Jose Iglesias, and that’s all she wrote for this one.
Reliever Pedro Figueroa took over for McCarthy, and the Sox were able to get another run across as Podsednik brought Ciriaco home on a groundout.
Boston may be no closer to taking the lead in this one, but at least they’re trying to keep it competitive.
End 6th, Athletics 9-1: Daniel Bard is back in Boston, but nothing’s changed.
After getting a quick out to start his first inning back in the majors, Bard immediately allowed both a solo home run and a single as signs of the struggles began to surface once again.
Two consecutive outs from the typically hard-throwing righty helped get the Sox out of further trouble, though.
Bard’s return wasn’t as disastrous as some of his final outings in Boston before the demotion, but there were some signs of control issues as well as a serious lack in heat, as his fastball was coming in closer to the 90 mph range than his typical 97-99.
Mid 6th, Athletics 8-1: Jacoby Ellsbury’s been mired in a bit of slump recently. But even as he attempts to figure out his swing, his hustle powers through.
Ellsbury’s hustle avoided a double play on a hard hit ball in the sixth, and then it got him to third base after a Cody Ross grounder bounced off the send base bag and caromed into center field.
Loney’s strikeout followed by a quick Salty groundout ended any hope of getting a scoring-rally together in the sixth. Bummer.
End 5th, Athletics 8-1: Alfredo Aceves may no longer be the closer for the Boston Red Sox, but he’s till getting lit up.
Brandon Moss, who is now 3-for-3 with four RBIs, just crushed a screaming two-run shot deep to the upper deck in right field to extend the A’s lead to 8-1.
Aceves has had a rough go of it since returning from his three-game suspension, now having allowed four runs over 4 1/3 innings. Stretching him out may be a good move, but he seems to have lost his fastball — both figuratively and literally — for some reason.
Mid 5th, Athletics 6-1: More of the same from the Boston bats.
Another inning passed and no more runs scored. With four early hits and two quick rallies that seemed primed for some scoring, the Sox have been a major disappointment so far with just one run to their name.
McCarthy’s focus and pinpoint location certainly aren’t helping the case either.
It remains to be seen what this offense can do in the coming innings, because this deficit isn’t going away anytime soon.
End 4th, Athletics 6-1: Junichi Tazawa came on to close out the third inning and he just cruised throught the fourth as well.
Tazawa, who has been relied on in long-relief situations for much of August, boasts one of the best ERA’s in the Sox bullpen and has arguably been their most consistent bullpen arm over the past month.
While the Sox continue to figure out who will play what role for them in the coming year(s), it seems that Tazawa would be an obvious choice to help solidify a bullpen in need of some change.
Mid 4th, Athletics 6-1: Down goes Ross, down goes Loney, deep goes Salty.
Ross and Loney were quick to fly out in the fourth, but Saltalamacchia made sure to get the Sox on the board with a deep home run to right field.
Salty has been inconsistent at the plate since the All-Star break, either striking out or belting a long ball depending on the at-bat, really. But the shot is a good sign for Salty and could help bolster the Boston bats.
End 3rd, Athletics 6-0: Josh Reddick’s leadoff single appeared to be going for naught, but once more Brandon Moss got the best of the Red Sox.
Moss, who played for the Sox a few years ago, already drove in one run in the second inning, and just drove in another on a bloop single to left field.
Gomes added another run onto that total with a single to knock in Moss. That was enough to run Cook from the game, marking yet another early exit for the starter.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for Cook to take a seat and give some more of these youngsters a shot at starting some games with the big club. What point does Cook even have with a starting role, when clearly this team is aiming at the future and not the present?
Mid 3rd, Athletics 4-0: The A’s got four in the second, but the Red Sox were unable to counter with any offensive spark.
Podsednik, Pedroia and Ellsbury went down in order as McCarthy seems to be settling in on the mound for Oakland.
While Cook has been unable to effectively place his pitches on the night, McCarthy has finally locked in and appears to have all his pitches working after a rocky first few.
End 2nd, Athletics 4-0: After laying down a quick first inning of work, Aaron Cook faced some trouble in the second.
Yoenis Cespedes singled to kick things off in the inning, but it was Brandon Moss’ strange double off the left-field wall that ultimately brought the A’s first run.
Johnny Gomes added to the lead with a single into right field that brought Moss around.
But Josh Donaldson’s two-run home run was the one that did the most damage, sending the Sox to an early 4-0 deficit.
Cook’s sinker is clearly not working here on Friday and if he doesn’t settle things down soon, we could be in store for an early exit.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: James Loney extended his hitting streak to six games with the Red Sox after a second inning single in this one.
Loney, who was struggling mightily to the tune of a .252 average with the Dodgers this season, has turned things around in six games with Boston. After a 3-for-4 night on Thursday, Loney smacked a single to center field in the second on Friday to continue his streak of recording at least one hit in each game he’s played with the Sox.
His long-term future in Boston may not be secure by any means, but Loney is definitely making a good first impression with his suddenly streaking bat.
On another note, the Sox squandered yet another rally, leaving a pair in scoring position before heading into the bottom half.
End 1st, 0-0: Just as McCarthy made quick work of the sox in the first, Boston starter Aaron Cook laid down the law against the top of the A’s order.
Cook needed just 12 pitches, seeming to execute his sinker beautifully, to escape the first and looks to be in for another fast-paced outing.
While Cook’s numbers — 3-7 with a 4.70 ERA — don’t suggest a great season on the mound, he actually has been pretty solid for the Red Sox all season. Aside from a few minor mishaps, Cook has provided consistent and effective outings for an otherwise miserable Sox starting staff.
Mid 1st, 0-0: The Red Sox seemed primed for a first-inning rally in Oakland, but A’s starter Brandon McCarthy made sure a couple of quick hits didn’t put his team into an early hole.
After Scott Podsednik and Dustin Pedroia found their way on base to start off the first, the Boston batters were unable to push them across.
Jacoby Ellsbury grounded into a double play and Cody Ross flied out to center field, continuing the trend of the Red Sox hitters inability to drive in runs.
This could be a bad sign for the Sox early on in this one, as they’ve struggled to score runs early in any of their games out on the West Coast.
10 p.m.: Scott Podsednik and Dustin Pedroia are set to step into the batters box and get this one going.
Can the Red Sox take down Brandon McCarthy and the A’s? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Keep it here with the Red Sox Live Blog to stay up to date on everything Red Sox throughout the game and well into the night.
7:15 p.m.: The lineups are out. No big surprises for the Red Sox, other than James Loney being dropped in the order from fourth to fifth.
He responded well to being in the cleanup role last night, with a home run and three hits, but Cody Ross should do just fine in there against righty Brandon McCarthy.
Here are the lineups for the two teams on Friday night.
Boston Red Sox (62-70)
Scott Podsednik, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Cody Ross, RF
James Loney, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Mike Aviles, DH
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Jose Iglesias, SS
Aaron Cook, P
Coco Crisp, CF
Stephen Drew, SS
Josh Reddick, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Brandon Moss, 1B
Jonny Gomes, DH
Josh Donaldson, 3B
George Kottaras, C
Cliff Pennington, 2B
Brandon McCarthy, P
8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox may have dropped their third straight to kick off this west coast road trip, but hope still remains as they head north to start a three-game set with Oakland.
Aaron Cook is ready to take the mound for the Sox, looking to quiet down a very much contending Athletics team that is hungry for more wins. James Loney’s break out offensive performance, going 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs, and could be primed for even more carnage as this season winds down.
Loney should help carry the load along with Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia the rest of the way, and getting off to a good start in Oakland would be just the antidote this team needs.
Tune into NESN starting at 9 p.m. to catch all the pregame action and be sure to stick around for all your Red Sox game action with first pitch at 10:07 p.m.