The last time through their rotation, the Red Sox starters have been very impressive, allowing a total of four runs over the past five games, including just one in their three-game sweep of the Twins at Fenway.
That being said, the Sox offense really needs to pick up the slack, as they have totaled just nine runs in those games, two of them one-run losses to the Indians.
Jake Peavy got this strong stretch started, and he gets the ball for the first game of the Red Sox’ 10-game road trip, starting Thursday in Oakland. Peavy, 1-4 with a 4.53 ERA on the year, went six innings against Cleveland in his last outing, allowing one run on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts, and was in line for the win before the bullpen gave up two runs and the Sox lost 3-2.
Peavy has faced the A’s just twice in his career, going 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA. In his last appearance in Oakland, he threw a complete game shutout and allowed just three hits in April 2012 while pitching for the White Sox.
Of the A’s in Thursday’s lineup, only Alberto Callaspo and Coco Crisp have faced Peavy more than a dozen times. Callaspo is 6-for-23 with a walk and five RBIs, while Crisp is 2-for-10 with a walk and one RBI.
The A’s will counter with lefthander Scott Kazmir, who is having one of his best seasons in years, currently 8-2 with a 2.05 ERA. He beat the Yankees his last time out, throwing six innings of three-hit ball and allowing no earned runs, issuing three walks and striking out two in a 5-1 Oakland win.
Kazmir is no stranger to the Red Sox after spending five and a half seasons in Tampa Bay and his entire career in the American League. He has faced them more times than any other MLB team, going 8-8 with a 4.04 ERA in 26 career starts.
David Ortiz has faced Kazmir 65 times, but he has the night off, so Dustin Pedroia is next in line, going 21-for-44 with nine walks, including three home runs and seven RBIs. A.J. Pierzynski, who will DH in Ortiz’s place, is 4-for-15 against the lefthander. Mike Napoli is the only other Sox hitter with a hit off Kazmir, going 1-for-7 with a walk.