Red Sox vs. A’s Match-Ups, 7/28
|07.28.09 at 12:59 pm ET|
Tuesday night will surely be a festive night at Fenway as the Sox retire Hall of Famer Jim Rice’s number 14 along with the numbers of Red Sox greats Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Carlton Fisk, among others.
But after the jubilation subsides, it’s time for the Sox to get down to business.
Following a dismal start to the second half in which Boston lost five straight games and fell in the AL East standings, the Sox have finally regained their composure, winning three of their last four games. Not to mention last night marked the first game in a four-game home stand against one of baseball’s worst teams: the Oakland A’s.
Oakland (41-57) is currently last in the AL West, 17 games behind the first-place LA Angels, and holds the fourth worst record in the majors.
With their season all but lost, the A’s will send rookie pitcher Vin Mazzaro to the mound to face Boston’s Clay Buchholz. The two young pitchers have hardly any experience against their respective opponents: Mazzaro has never faced the Sox, and the only member of the Oakland lineup that Buchholz has faced is former Red Sox shortstop Orlando Cabrera.
In 10 starts this season, Mazzaro is 2-7 with a 4.75 ERA, averaging a little over five innings per start. Buchholz, who has been the focal point of various trade rumors this season, has only had two starts since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. The 24-year-old righty is 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA in those starts this season.
Speaking with WEEI last night, Buchholz said he feels like a better pitcher this season compared with last.
“I feel more mature in the game,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot, and I had to learn a lot through some struggled, but eventually I came through and it was learning process for me. It wasn’t always fun but sometimes you need to learn from your mistakes. That’s what brought me back here and that’s what drove me during the off-season to get better.”
The Red Sox currently trail the Yankees by 2.5 games in the AL East standings. But with New York facing a lethal Tampa Bay lineup this week, followed by the second-place White Sox over the weekend, Boston hopes to capitalize against a weak Oakland team at home.
A’s VS. BUCHHOLZ
Orlando Cabrera (6 career plate appearances against Buchholz): 2-6, strikeout
RED SOX VS. MAZZARO
The Red Sox have never faced Mazzaro.
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