The Oakland Athletics (25-65) are on the road to face the Boston Red Sox (46-43) at Fenway Park on Saturday. The Red Sox took Friday’s series opener 7-3. Nick Pivetta threw five innings out of the bullpen to get the win.
Jarren Duran went 2 for 4 with a triple, two runs, and one RBI in the win. Seth Brown was 1 for 2 with a home run, two runs, and two RBIs for the Athletics.
ON THE MOUND
Paul Blackburn (1-1, 4.50 ERA) is set for the start for Oakland. The RHP allowed five runs over five innings in his last start, an 8-7 road defeat against the White Sox on Sunday. He took the loss, giving up six hits while striking out five and walking four.
Blackburn is making his first appearance against the Red Sox this season. Over two starts against the Red Sox in 2022, Blackburn was 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA over 9.1 innings.
He had seven strikeouts and four walks. For Boston, LHP James Paxton (4-1, 2.70 ERA) will toe the rubber. It’s his first appearance of the season against the Athletics.
In his last start on June 30, Paxton got the win on the road against the Blue Jays. He threw 7.2 scoreless innings and gave up three hits, striking out seven and walking two in the 5-0 victory.
AT THE PLATE
Over the last five games, Oakland has averaged 4.6 runs a game, up from their season average of 3.6, due in part to an improved team batting average (.220 vs .220). Against lefties like Paxton this season, the A’s have a .674 OPS, the third lowest in MLB.
Brent Rooker is the team’s strongest hitter against left-handers with a .855 OPS in 77 at-bats. Boston is averaging 5.6 runs per game in the last five, up slightly from 4.9 for the season.
The Sox have a .753 OPS against right-handers in 2023. With a .906 OPS over 191 at-bats, Duran has been their best hitter against right-handers.
HOME AND AWAY
Oakland is 13-33 on the road in 2023, scoring 3.9 runs per game while allowing 6.5 runs. Boston has won three in a row at Fenway Park. The Sox are 24-22 at home this season, averaging 5.5 runs per game while surrendering 5.1. Boston is 7-3 in the last 10 games between the teams at Fenway Park with an average scoreline of 5.8-2.5.
The Athletics are fifth in the AL West, 27 games behind the division-leading Rangers. The Red Sox are fifth in the AL East, 10 games behind the Rays.
SportsTips’ MLB Pick:
Boston Red Sox -1.5 (-115)
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*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.