By Jack O’Keefe
We were treated to quite a game last evening! Both pitchers were hitting their spots and carving up the bats for most of the evening. Scoring was limited in this one, and the A’s generated just enough runs offensively to find themselves in the win column for the first of three games in Boston. Boston will look to even up the series tonight with Eduardo Rodriguez on the hill. The inexperienced James Kaprielian will toe the rubber for Oakland, as he will be making his first major league start. What can we expect in this Wednesday night affair? Read below to find out!
Money Line: OAK +125, BOS -148
Run Line: OAK +1.5 (-162), BOS -1.5 (+130)
Total: 9.5 (O +100, U -122)
First Pitch: 6:10 PM CST, Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Oakland Athletics (22-15)
Chris “Deuces” Bassitt was electric last night once again for the Oakland Athletics. Boston batters were off for most of the evening, as they were only to generate three hits and two runs off the starting pitcher. We have now reached six straight starts by Bassitt allowing exactly two runs, what a crazy feat! Last night though was by far his best performance yet this season. The Red Sox got to Bassitt in the first inning, with a sacrifice fly off the bat of J.D. Martinez to open the scoring. Boston would not score again though until the seventh inning, after Rafael Devers knocked one over the Green Monster. The 10 strikeouts racked up by Bassitt were a season-high in a start this season, and he has now lowered his ERA to 3.54 on the season. The 53 strikeouts for Bassitt are the 10th most among active starters in the majors. Yusmeiro Petit picked up where Bassitt left off in the eighth, which then turned things over to Diekman for the ninth inning. It was a bit of a roller coaster at points in the ninth inning, as the Red Sox had two men on via the base on balls, but Diekman held his ground and shut the door on Boston. He now has four saves on the season.
Chapman continues to see the ball well, and he picked up a timely single in the seventh inning to push the A’s on top. The other Matt, that being Matt Olson, tied the ball game up in the fourth inning, thanks to an RBI single. The A’s were able to string together hits last night, but there were several scoring opportunities left squandered by the Oakland offense. On the night, the A’s were 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position, which was very apparent in the seventh inning. The A’s did score two runs that inning, but it definitely had the makings of a “crooked number being thrown on the scoreboard” type of inning. No one had two or more hits on the night, but every player reached base at some point last evening, with the exception of Sean Murphy. That is the makings of a well-rounded lineup.
James Kaprielian gets the nod for the start, assuming to be filling in for the injured Mike Fiers. In the two games he pitched in last season, Kaprielian went 3.2 innings and allowed four hits and three earned runs. In the lone game he pitched this season in Triple-A, he went 4.2 innings and allowed eight hits and two earned runs. It is assumed that, if Kaprielian pitches well, he will stick around in the rotation for another start or two. If things go south, he will more than likely be sent back to Las Vegas. Tonight will be a telling sign for the direction of what is to come for the 27-year old Californian native.
Boston Red Sox (22-15)
For all the hype I mentioned yesterday about Boston’s offense, the bats were quiet on Tuesday night for the Red Sox. It looked like the Red Sox were going to open the floodgates early on as they had a man at third with only one out in the bottom of the first inning. All the Red Sox got though was the lone run that inning, nothing more. The Red Sox did not have another baserunner in the game until the sixth inning, a Michael Chavis one out single.
Nathan Eovaldi was matching each strong inning Chris Bassitt put up for the A’s. Eovaldi went six innings, while holding the A’s to a pair of hits and one earned run on the eve. David Hernandez came in out of the bullpen first for the Red Sox in the seventh inning, which proved to be the decisive blow for Boston. Hernandez was unable to pitch a full inning, as he was yanked with only recording two outs, while allowing two hits, a walk and two runs to score. The Red Sox cut the lead in half the following half inning, thanks to a solo homer by Rafael Devers, but that was the closest they would get to tying the game up for the duration of the contest.
Eduardo Rodriguez gets the ball for the Red Sox, and he has been sharp for Boston this season to say the least. Rodriguez is a perfect 5-0 with a 3.82 ERA on the season. Rodriguez has fared better at Fenway Park than he has on the road this season. He is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA at home, opposed to a 4.05 road ERA for the southpaw. The A’s were able to notch a few runs off the lefty in his previous two starts against him in 2019. In the two starts, Rodriguez pitched 8.1 innings, allowing 10 runs in that span. The A’s did the bulk of their scoring early on in those games, so expect the A’s to jump on an early lead Wednesday night against the Venezuelan native.
Analysis and Prediction:
I have an eerie feeling that the Red Sox are going to get a few runs on the scoreboard early on in this game. It might have to be a game that Oakland hangs around and then ties/takes the lead late in the contest, but I like the chances of Boston taking the lead in the early stages of the game. Rodriguez has been sharp all season for the Red Sox, and they have won in five out of his six starts this season. Nothing fancy here, going again with the Red Sox ML tonight as my best bet.
Jack’s 2021 MLB picks: (10-11)