Red Sox Live Blog: Sox Can’t Overcome Poor Start by Daisuke Matsuzaka, Stalled Offense in 6-1 Loss to A’s

Red Sox Live Blog: Sox Can't Overcome Poor Start by Daisuke Matsuzaka, Stalled Offense in 6-1 Loss to A'sEnd of Game, 6-1 A's Win: Well, the Red Sox just couldn't overcome the Dice-K Debacle — that seems like an appropriate title, right? After Matsuzaka was pulled, the bullpen did all it could, but ultimately the offense didn't pull its weight, either.

With the loss the Sox fall to 42-38, while the A's move to 39-42, records that feel all-too close given the $140 million payroll disparity. Jarrod Parker (5-3) picks up the win, while Matsuzaka (0-3) is still looking for his first victory since coming off the disabled list.

First pitch Tuesday is again at 10:05 p.m. locally, but you can tune in to NESN starting at 9 p.m. for all your pregame needs. And you can also stick right here on NESN.com for your regularly-scheduled postgame rundowns.

End 8th, 6-1 A's: We've already taken some time to laud the Sox bullpen, but really, they can't receive enough praise at this point. No matter who answers the call, they are doing their job with gusto.

After the Matsuzaka debacle, Clayton Mortensen and Mark Melancon have come in to yeild just one run on two hits over seven innings.

Mid 8th, 6-1 A's: Sean Doolittle just mowed right through the middle of the Red Sox lineup, touting a hard fastball and sweeping curveball.

As we predicted might be the case, the Red Sox offense looks more than a little stagnant again, so it may be about time to stop blaming opposing pitchers and cavernous ballparks.

End 7th, 6-1 A's: Mark Melancon has looked like a different person since returning to the big club from Pawtucket.

Despite serving in the closer's role last year for the Houston Astros, Melancon doesn't have the typical shutdown stuff you'd expect coming out of that role. However, when he's on, Melancon does a good job to paint the corners with a cut fastball.

He's looked to be much closer to his 2011 form recently.

Mid 7th, 6-1 A's: The Red Sox finally chase Jarrod Parker, but can't get any runs across.

In fact, the reason Parker's out of the game likely had more to do with his own (slight) control issues and elevated pitch count than the Red Sox managing much against him.

Another worry for the Sox is that Cody Ross is out of the game. After earlier today Ross talked about his ability to heal quickly, it's a little difficult not to note the irony.

Top 7th, 6-1 A's: For anyone interested, here's the link to video of Cliff Pennington's spectacular double play on David Ortiz back in the first inning.

End 6th, 6-1 A's: The Athletics add a little padding there to help out Parker, but nice grab by Kalish out there in center.

The job Kalish has done since coming up to the big club can't be understated — particularly after missing so much time over the last year. It's almost a shame, since by the time Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford return, there really isn't going to be much outfield playing time to go around. Does Kalish have a future in right field in Fenway? Do the Red Sox try to make some room for him after this season?

That remains to be seen, but Kalish has certainly done everything within his control to make sure he's on the club's long-term radar.

Mid 6th, 5-1 A's: Every time David Ortiz hits a ball through the shift, you have to wonder if he takes a little extra pride in it.

Of course, the increased use of the shift around Major League Baseball hasn't affected Big Papi's stats much, but then again, teams have been playing Ortiz like that for years.

We're still waiting for number 400, but right now Ortiz would probably take a couple Red Sox runs from any source available.

End 5th, 5-1 A's: Credit Clayton Mortensen for the job he's done out of the Red Sox bullpen. In four innings, Mortensen has yet to allow a hit, allowing just two free passes on the night.

He's thrown 58 pitches so far, so it remains to be seen if he has another inning left in him, but either way, the right-hander has done well to save some of the Sox' arms out there in the pen.

Mid 5th, 5-1 A's: After leaving some pitches up in the zone in the first inning, and fighting his control a little bit, it looks like Jarrod Parker is settling in.

That could make it tough for the Sox to get back in the game, still down by four. The right-hander is featuring some good hard stuff, and hitting both sides of the plate.

The Sox, however, are going to have to make him elevate the ball again if they plan to make it close.

End 4th: 5-1 A's: It feels like pitch-outs never work, but well, there you go.

Saltalamacchia, while one of the premier offensive backstops in the league, is likely never to win a Gold Glove. That being said, that was a perfectly executed play, and probably the only way the Sox were going to catch the speedy Pennington on the bases.

Mid 4th, 5-1 A's: The Red Sox need their Adrian just like Rocky needs his Adrian.

Gonzalez has started to return to form for the Red Sox, hitting .355 over the last week, and adding a single in that last half inning. However, aside from a couple doubles last Tuesday, Gonzalez hasn't been able to do much in terms of power, so the Red Sox will definitely hope he can start notching some extra base hits in the coming days and weeks.

Doing so would go a long way to making the Sox offense scary again.

End 3rd, 5-1 A's: Ever wonder why the A's wear white shoes? They're the only baseball team in the majors to do so.

It's something that dates back to former owner Charlie Finley, who installed both the shoes and the green-and-golf uniforms — entirely to set the team apart from the rest of the league.

Finley can be thought of as kind of a lower-key successor to Bill Veeck. Mostly, he's remembered for moving the A's to Oakland from Kansas City.

Mid 3rd, 5-1 A's: About a week and a half ago Bobby Valentine said that he was waiting for Pedroia to get "firecracker hot." After his performance the last couple nights, is it safe to say here's there?

Bottom 2nd, 4-1 A's: Suffice to say, Matsuzaka did not look right in that last half inning, to the point that it begs the question whether or not there's anything physically wrong with him.

With pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery, velocity usually returns before the ability to spot the ball, and Matsuzaka had indeed been showing decent velocity in his outings so far this year.

In the bottom of the second, however, it looked like the right-hander couldn't muster anything beyond 89 MPH cut fastballs running back over the plate. Now an already-overtaxed Red Sox bullpen will have to put up seven or eight innings.

Mid 2nd, 1-1: Quick inning for the Red Sox, so let's talk stadium names. Since 1998, the Coliseum in Oakland has gone through the following designations:

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Network Associates Coliseum
McAfee Coliseum
Overstock.com Coliseum
(and now) O.co Coliseum

Nice to know Red Sox fans don't have to wonder what to call their ballpark. Can't the A's just move to San Jose, already?

End 1st, 1-1: The other day, watching the game between the Angels and Blue Jays, former Angel Jeff Mathis — who seems to perpetually carry a batting average below the Mendoza line — ended up with four hits in a game against his former club.

What is it about players facing their former teams?

Who knows if Josh Reddick had something to prove to the Red Sox or if it was just a fluke. Either way, the outfielder is having a very nice season for Oakland, and he just tied the game up at one.

Mid 1st, 1-0 Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia continues to carry the offensive load for the Red Sox, as he was largely responsible for both of the Sox' runs Sunday afternoon. The fact that he's driving the ball to the opposite field with authority speaks volumes about his comfort level in the batter's box.

Also, great turn by Pennington on that double play. That was an extremely awkward position to throw from, and he did very well to get the ball to first in time. You'll likely see the replay of that one making the rounds on highlight shows tonight.

10:06 p.m.: We have first pitch! For those wondering, the gametime temperature is 63 degrees in Oakland, California.

9:00 p.m.: Here are tonight's lineups, with the Red Sox missing rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

Boston Red Sox (42-37)

Daniel Nava, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Cody Ross, RF
Ryan Kalish, CF
Mike Aviles, SS
Nick Punto, 3B

Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP

Oakland Athletics (38-42)

Coco Crisp, CF
Jemile Weeks, 2B
Josh Reddick, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, DH
Seth Smith, LF
Derek Norris, C
Brandon Moss, 1B
Brandon Inge, 3B
Cliff Pennington, SS

Jarrod Parker, RHP

8:40 p.m.: The Red Sox have to feel very, very fortunate to escape from Seattle with a series split.

After beginning to look like the prolific offense that many expected of them, the bats largely went cold in the Pacific Northwest, as the Sox scored just nine runs over the four-game series. The flip side of that is the pitching — the bullpen in particular — was borderline spectacular, yielding just five runs itself.

It's tempting to say that series is in the past, but the Red Sox now head south down the West Coast to take on the Oakland Athletics — a team very similarly built to the Mariners with solid pitching, a questionable offense and a cavernous ballpark to boot.The only consistent offense the A's have been able to muster has come from the man the Red Sox swapped for Andrew Bailey — Josh Reddick.

Nonetheless, Oakland is a team that the Boston, if it expects to contend for a playoff birth, by all rights should be taking a series from. Brad Pitt — excuse me, Billy Beane's — A's, still waiting on a new ballpark, are thoroughly in rebuilding mode, having traded away budding stars Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill in the offseason.

Tonight, however, the Athletics reap the benefits of those trades, sending former Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Jarrod Parker (4-3, 2.57) to the hill to take on Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2, 4-91) in a game that could well be another dominated by pitching and lots of deep fly ball outs.

First pitch is set for 10:05 p.m. locally, but you can tune in to NESN starting at 8:30 for all your pregame needs.

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