It was a particularly disappointing outing for Felix Doubront, who gave up five earned runs (on 79 pitches) in just three innings of work. He was outshined Saturday by A.J. Griffin, who went seven strong innings, yielding just a single run on three hits with no walks.
With the win, the Athletics improve their wild-card-leading record to 75-57, while the Red Sox fall to 62-72, the first time they've been 10 games below .500 since 1997. Griffin (4-0) gets the win, while Doubront (10-7) is saddled with the loss.
Well, that's it for us from your Red Sox Live Blog. We'll be back with another edition tomorrow, however, as the Sox look to finally escape with a win on their West Coast road trip. First pitch is scheduled for 4:07 p.m. ET, but you can tune into NESN beginning at 3 p.m., or stick right here with NESN.com for all the pregame action.
And, as always, you can follow this live blogger on Twitter at @ZachStoloff to chat Red Sox and all things MLB.
End 8th, A's 7-1: Andrew Bailey gets just a little bit of work there, but more importantly gets a nice ovation from A's fans, making his first appearance in Oakland as a member of the visiting team.
Anyway, on to the ninth! As the Red Sox go down to their final at-bat down by six runs.
Mid 8th, A's 7-1: We had talked a bit earlier about the problems the A's are facing in their outdated home ballpark, and it really is an unfortunate situation.
In a bizarre arrangement that is not seen in any other two-team market (such as Los Angeles or New York), the Bay Area is actually drawn up into different "territories" for the Giants and Athletics. The A's would like to be able to move to San Jose, one of the few American cities to thrive and grow throughout the economic troubles of the last few years. However, the Giants own San Jose as a territory (and have their Triple-A club located there) and refuse to let the A's violate those terms.
To make matters worse, commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball have badly dragged their feet, opening a study into the issues several years ago but having yet to release any findings or suggestions on how to resolve the dispute.
For now, the A's remain in limbo in an awful ballpark and an unenviable situation.
End 7th, A's 7-1: Every time Rosales comes up to bat, you kind of half hope he hits a home run.
Rosales has a distinctly spastic kind of energy out on the diamond, with a lot of twitchy movements and a general look of always being spring-loaded and ready to go.
Well, it fits his personality perfectly then that Rosales is known to eschew the traditional home run trot in favor of the home run sprint, racing around the bases as fast as he can after hitting a rare long ball.
Check out a video of Rosales showing off his speed unopposed.
End 6th, A's 6-1: Well, despite all the weirdness, Aceves gets through three innings and yields just one run, so count that as a successful outing for him.
Aside from that, who's noticed the football lines across the field at the O.Co Coliseum? Sadly enough, the Athletics are the very last team in Major League Baseball to share their home venue with a professional football team — the Oakland Raiders — further emphasizing just how dire straits the A's find themselves in.
We'll talk more about this as our Red Sox Live Blog rolls on, but the A's badly need a new stadium and possibly a relocation to survive as a franchise. Even on this, a promotional night, on a Saturday with the team in the thick of the playoff hunt, the announced attendance was right around 20,000.
Mid 6th, A's 6-1: The Red Sox finally get on the board, however, and from the looks of the replay, they may have gotten the benefit of a blown call by the home plate umpire. Oh well. At this point, the Sox will take whatever they can get.
Aside from that, clearly the most fascinating thing to happen in this game thus far has been the bizarre altercations involving Aceves. Likewise, we're sure many of you feel the same as this tweet.
— Jenney Griffin (@IrishRedSox77) September 2, 2012
End 5th, A's 6-0: Just met Jim Rice here in the NESN offices, so that's a plus. Being here is kind of like being in a "This is SportsCenter" commercial in real life.
Aside from that, Aceves gives up a run but gets through the inning without any major emotional flareups, so that's another plus for the Red Sox.
Mid 5th, A's 5-0: Oh what this live blogger wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall and hear the various conversations that Aceves was involved in on the bench that last half inning.
For those keeping track, that was three bizarre happenings the reliever was involved in while he was piching: the pop fly, the pickoff throws to second and the altercation with the home plate umpire.
Someone might want to get Aceves to take down the intensity level about half a notch.
End 4th, A's 5-0: That felt like a very long half-inning considering there was no scoring.
Aside from that, having spoken to Alfredo Aceves before, suffice to say the guy is an interesting personality. Very intense, even in the clubhouse and removed from the rigors of the game.
However, it appears that over the last week and a half or so, the right-hander has consistently allowed his emotions to get the better of him. It generally doesn't matter what the reason is — yelling with the umpires isn't going to do you any favors throughout the night.
And, suffice to say, Aceves shouldn't have been anywhere near that pop fly. That's the kind of thing that's taught early in baseball.
Mid 4th, A's 5-0: Earlier today this live blogger wrote a piece for NESN.com talking about the Red Sox and what they can learn from the Athletics in terms of how the evaluate players.
Basically, the player attributes that used to be undervalued in the days of Michael Lewis' book, Moneyball, are no longer undervalued, meaning it's that much more difficult to put a championship-caliber team together with the "disciplined" approach that general manager Ben Cherington has oft-mentioned since last Saturday's mega-trade.
End 3rd, A's 5-0: When all is said and done and this season is in the rearview mirror, hopefully it will be recognized that the offense largely did its job on the season, the bullpen was far better than expected and it was the starting rotation that repeatedly let the team down.
That trend continues again Saturday, as Doubront has been disappointing in his return to the hill and has also already thrown 77 pitches through three innings. That's plainly unacceptable.
Mid 3rd, A's 1-0: So we have the definitive answer to the Weekend at Bernie's mystery.
Apparently a dance originated about two years ago from a rap song that took its name after the movie. They started playing the song at A's games, fans started doing the dance and players started playing it in the clubhouse.
So, of course, the team decided to have the actor who played Bernie — insofar as playing a dead man is acting — throw out the first pitch at today's game and celebrate the phenomenon.
Don't laugh, though. When you have as many problems as they A's do drawing fans to a ballpark, it's probably not fair to criticize any outside-the-box promotions.
End 2nd, A's 1-0: Already at 41 pitches, it's more of the same for Felix Doubront, whose next developmental step is clear: Pitch more efficiently.
With two strikeouts in the inning, Doubront has undeniable swing-and-miss stuff, so he really doesn't need to be as fine as he continually tries to be. On the season, the southpaw has never worked longer than 6 1/3 innings, and that's a bit of a disappointment considering the pure stuff Doubront has.
Mid 2nd, A's 1-0: Ahhh, this live blogger read something about this before.
Don and Jerry were obviously just discussing the masks that were given to fans in Oakland prior to this game. Who are they of? Well, Bernie from the film Weekend at Bernie's, of course.
What's the connection between that early-1990s screwball comedy and the A's? I actually can't remember, but I will be passing that information along shortly.
End 1st, A's 1-0: We'll try not to dwell on Friday night much, but it stands as quite a coincidence that after being the only former Red Sox player not to get into the offensive action last night — going 0-for-5 — Crisp leads the A's attack with a home run.
Seems about right.
Anyway, what to expect from A's starter A.J. Griffin, who got through the Red Sox in order in the first? Well, the right-hander features a pretty straightforward repertoire — a fastball, cutter, slider and changeup. Griffin suffered some shoulder tightness earlier in the season and has been on the DL since Aug. 5.
Mid 1st, 0-0: So, what to look for from Felix Doubront tonight? Well, first off, the lefty should be plenty rested, after being skipped a couple of starts and put on the disabled list ostensibly to give his young arm an opportunity to rest.
Doubront features two- and four-seam fastballs, a curveball, a changeup and, like every other pitcher in baseball, has a developing cutter. Doubront has been one of the more consistent starters in the Sox' rotation this year, but he hasn't been quite as sharp in the second half, and he hasn't been able to work deep into games all year. When he's at his best, he's attacking the zone and getting early-count outs. If he tries to be too fine and rack up the strikeouts, he's vulnerable.
9:07 p.m.: We have first pitch! And, for those wondering, the gametime temperature in Oakland is 63 degrees with 70 percent humidity and winds from the northwest at 15 miles per hour.
8:20 p.m.: Things are getting a bit wacky in the Red Sox Lineup, as Scott Podsednik hits third while Jacoby Ellsbury is in the leadoff role.
That may seem a little backward. Both players have been leadoff hitters throughout their careers, but Ellsbury seems distinctly more inclined toward to a middle-of-the-order role, hitting 32 home runs last year. Podsednik, meanwhile, has little to no power to speak of.
Aside from that, the veterans are mostly playing, as James Loney, Mike Aviles and Jarrod Saltalamacchia also find themselves in the lineup.
Check out the batting orders for both teams below:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Scott Podsednik, LF
Cody Ross, RF
James Loney, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Mike Aviles, SS
Ryan Lavarnway, DH
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Felix Doubront, P
Coco Crisp, CF
Johnny Gomes, DH
Josh Reddick, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Chris Carter, 1B
Brandon Inge, 3B
Derek Norris, C
Brandon Hicks, SS
Adam Rosales, 2B
A.J. Griffin, P
8 a.m. ET: Well, let's just agree to not talk about Friday night, okay?
On Saturday, the Boston Red Sox (62-71) will try to finally capture a game during their West Coast swing after getting swept by the Los Angeles Angels and now losing the first contest of a three-game set to the Oakland Athletics (74-57) last night.
The Red Sox will be looking to play spoiler to the A's wild-card-leading playoff hopes, and to do that they'll welcome back Felix Doubront (10-6, 4.79 ERA) to the hill after the left-hander spent some time on the disabled list with a knee issue, also taking the opportunity to rest a young arm. He'll be opposed by yet another young Oakland arm, as right-haned 24-year-old A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.42) will face the Sox.
First pitch is scheduled for 9:05 p.m. ET, but be sure to tune into NESN beginning at 8 p.m. for Red Sox First Pitch. You can also stick right here with NESN.com, as this Red Sox Live blog with have the starting lineups and, as Vin Scully would say, "all the stats and stories" in the hours leading up to Griffin's first toss of the night.
And, as always, be sure to follow this live-blogger on Twitter at @ZachStoloff to chat Red Sox and all things MLB.