Clay Buchholz may have lost all hope of claiming the A.L. Cy Young Award and the little hope that Boston has of a late playoff push is getting littler by the day.
John Lackey takes the ball in the second game of the series. He is 17-4 lifetime vs. Oakland.
First pitch is 9:05 p.m. and we will again be following all the action for you right here.
Final, Athletics 5-0: Three hits, three walks and very little hope. That's what the Red Sox produced in the opener of their six-game road trip.
In a must-win game (aren't they all?) Clay Buchholz put forth the worst start of his career and they probably should've just stopped playing after two innings.
Back to sum it all up for you.
End 8th, Athletics 5-0: Robert Manuel joins the party. His scoreless inning is the seventh for the Boston bullpen, which has at least been spared its key parts in this one.
Mid 8th, Athletics 5-0: Trevor Cahill leaves the game but it makes very little difference. The Red Sox haven't had a runner in scoring position since the second inning.
Robert Manuel is the fifth Boston pitcher of the night.
End 7th, Athletics 5-0: The Red Sox' relievers run their scoreless streak to six innings. And I'm going to get a snack.
Mid 7th, Athletics 5-0: This is all coming after the Red Sox scored 28
runs in their series vs. Tampa Bay, more than they have produced in any
series this year. What did they serve on that flight?
Trevor Cahill's ERA is down to 2.61, just behind Clay Buchholz's 2.53.
End 6th, Athletics 5-0: Gotta give some credit to the Boston bullpen, which has at least kept the club in it. Robert Coello has a perfect sixth and the pen has now thrown five scoreless.
Mid 6th, Athletics 5-0: Trevor Cahill gets David Ortiz looking for his fourth strikeout to finish the sixth. His pitch count is at 97 so the Red Sox may get a chance to take on the Oakland bullpen in the next inning or so. They aren't even flirting with a rally against Cahill.
Robert Coello is on to pitch for the Red Sox.
End 5th, Athletics 5-0: This game feels as if it was decided long ago but Oakland has failed to put any more distance between itself and Boston due in part to its own mistakes.
At third base with just one out in the fifth Jack Cust got picked off by Victor Martinez, an absolutely inexcusable error.
We also had Coco Crisp thrown out at third tagging on a fly to center and the A's have grounded into two other double plays.
The way Trevor Cahill looks it might not matter. But if the Sox get some runs on the board the A's might be kicking themselves.
Mid 5th, Athletics 5-0: Clay Buchholz began the day leading the American League in ERA. He fell to second with the miserable start and now has Trevor Cahill threatening to drop him to fourth.
Cahill will not be able to leapfrog Buchholz in this one, even if he throws a shutout. But he will be awfully close. The righty will take a two-hitter into the sixth.
End 4th, Athletics 5-0: Coco Crisp robbed Ryan Kalish of a homer in the first but Kalish returns the favor in the fourth by exhibiting his rocket of an arm to nail Crisp at third. Crisp was tagging on a fly to Kalish, who made a picture-perfect throw to get the speedster with ease.
We said you had to be careful with Coco Crisp in this series. That throw by Kalish was the first negative for Crisp, who is 2-for-2 with a walk, two steals and that marvelous catch back in the first.
Mid 4th, Athletics 5-0: Now we can just sit back and watch Trevor Cahill do his stuff. It's safe to say he has surpassed Clay Buchholz on the short list of Cy Young Award.
The crazy thing is that Cahill is just 22 and won't be 23 until after he makes a few spring training appearances next year, in all likelihood.
Michael Bowden is on for the Red Sox.
End 3rd, Athletics 5-0: The A's finally have a scoreless frame as Dustin Richardson survives a leadoff walk to Jeremy Hermida. We are on pace to finish this one just before 2 a.m. in Boston. Good stuff.
Mid 3rd, Athletics 5-0: Oakland boy Lars Anderson draws a walk in his first plate appearance back home. He is erased on an inning-ending double play by J.D. Drew, who is from Georgia, in case you care.
End 2nd, Athletics 5-0: Dustin Richardson gets an out for the first time in his last four outings but does manage to keep alive his streak of issuing a walk in four straight.
If this lead holds up the Red Sox will fall to 1-3 in Oakland this year and 9-18 since 2005. It's been a house of horrors, despite the fact that the A's have had some pretty bad teams during that stretch.
10:50 p.m.: Well then. Clay Buchholz looks nothing like Clay Buchholz and is gone after one-plus inning. He threw 39 pitches, 22 of them for balls, and leaves trailing 5-0 in the second.
Dustin Richardson, who has walked four and given up one hit without retiring a single batter in his last three outings, is on in relief. This may get a lot worse before it gets any better.
Buchholz allowed five hits and walked four, one shy of a season high. Just didn't locate anything.
Mid 2nd, Athletics 3-0: A two-out walk to Jed Lowrie and a double by Josh Reddick gives the Red Sox a scoring opportunity. It goes by the board when Bill Hall grounds to short.
Reddick is 5-for-8 with two doubles since his recall Monday. We took a look at Reddick's fast start on Thursday and it appears as if he might finally be ready to take off.
End 1st, Athletics 3-0: There's really no need to pitch to
Kurt Suzuki. He is now batting .385 with three home runs and seven RBIs
in seven games against Boston this year after a two-run double in the
If you're wondering whether Clay Buchholz, who gave up three hits and
two walks in the inning, is rusty, he actually has very good numbers in
his career pitching on five days' rest. Just left a few pitches, especially the one to Suzuki, right out over the plate.
Good thing Jeremy Hermida came up to help out Buchholz. With the
bases loaded and nobody out Hermida grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
A run scored but the two outs were sorely needed.
Mid 1st, 0-0: What a way to start a game. A former Red Sox center fielder, Coco Crisp, robs the current Red Sox center fielder, Ryan Kalish, of a home run with a leaping catch at the wall.
It makes for a quick first inning for Trevor Cahill, but another few inches and it would be 1-0 Boston.
Tampa Bay has held on for a win in Toronto. Its magic number is down to 16.
9:52 p.m.: Trevor Cahill has very quietly been one of the top pitchers in the American League this year. He's been downright dominant at home.
Cahill owns a 9-2 record with a 1.71 ERA in Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. He hasn't had a non-quality start there since July 6 against the Yankees.
Interestingly, if you remove two bad starts against the Yanks, the top offense in baseball by a wide margin, the 22-year-old is 15-4 with a 2.08 ERA.
Aside from New York, almost nobody has got to him. And it almost never happens at home.
9:20 p.m.: The one positive of having games begin so late on the East Coast is that we will know the results of most other games when this one begins, or soon thereafter.
Tampa Bay is leading 8-6 in the seventh at Toronto as I type this. It would take some of the wind out of the Red Sox' sails if that one stays that way, but a comeback by the Blue Jays might provide a bit of energy in Oakland.
Boston basically has to gain a game each remaining series and it will catch the Rays. A tall order, to be sure, but the Sox have yet to give up on scoreboard watching.
8:20 p.m.: Word from Oakland is not shocking, but definitive. Jacoby Ellsbury has been shut down from all baseball activities, manager Terry Francona told reporters.
When Ellsbury was placed back on the disabled list last month the club left the door slightly open for a late return. But it was generally considered that his season was done unless he had a remarkable recovery.
Unsurprisingly, that has not happened.
In another injury note, Felix Doubront is not with the team and will not join the team during the trip. It seems as if his pectoral/clavicle issue is not improving. And so it goes when you join the big club, Felix.
6:44 p.m.: Marco Scutaro is sitting again to start this one, prompting Terry Francona to put Ryan Kalish in the top spot in a very interesting lineup. Take a look:
Ryan Kalish, CF
J.D. Drew, RF
Victor Martinez, C
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jed Lowrie, SS
Josh Reddick, LF
Bill Hall, 2B
Lars Anderson, 1B
6:15 p.m.: We are awaiting the Red Sox' starting lineup from Oakland, where the Athletics have been a pretty good team this season.
Oakland's 15-win differential between the home and the road is second in the American League to only Detroit. The Sox are 9-17 here over the past five-plus seasons.
We do have the A's starters in, led by the red-hot Coco Crisp:
Coco Crisp, CF
Daric Barton, 1B
Kurt Suzuki, C
Jack Cust, DH
Mark Ellis, 2B
Jeremy Hermida, RF
Rajai Davis, LF
Jeff Larish, 3B
Cliff Pennington, SS
10 a.m.: The short list of American League Cy Young Award candidates includes the names Clay Buchholz and Trevor Cahill.
The two young right-handers will be on the mound Friday night when the Red Sox visit Oakland for the first of three with the Athletics.
Both pitchers enter the contest 15-6. Buchholz still leads the American League in ERA with a 2.25 mark while Cahill is third at 2.72 and ranks second in both WHIP (1.07) and opponents' batting average (.210).
The Sox and A's are both clinging to slim playoff hopes. Boston is 6 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay in the wild card race while Oakland trails Texas by seven games in the American League West.
First pitch is 10:05 p.m.
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