A’s vs. Red Sox Preview and Pick

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Oakland A’s vs. Boston Red Sox Preview and Pick ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

Oakland A’s (45-43) +160, o/u 10 at Boston Red Sox (53-33), 7 p.m. Eastern, ESPN 2
by Ultimatecapper.com Staff

A couple of first-place teams kick off the post All-Star break schedule when the Oakland A’s visit the Boston Red Sox for a four-game series at Fenway Park beginning Thursday night.

Oakland lost its’ last three games before the All-Star break but is still tied for first place in the AL West with the Texas Rangers.

Boston went 5-5 on a road trip going into the break and still leads the AL East by three games over the second-place New York Yankees.

The A’s are 21-21 on the road this season, and 20-19 as underdogs.

The Sox are a solid 27-10 at home this year and 43-22 as favorites.

This is the first encounter between these two teams this season. Boston won the season series with Oakland last year six games to four.

Disappointing Esteban Loaiza (3-5, 6.43) goes to the hill for Oakland in the series opener Thursday night. Loaiza has given up 19 ER and 41 H+W in his last 24 2/3 IP, and got clocked for four HRs in his last start a week ago vs. the Angels. The A’s are 3-5 in Loaiza’s starts this year, the o/u 4-6.

This is Loaiza’s first start vs. Boston since 2003, when he was with the Chicago White Sox.

Red Sox rookie Jon Lester (4-0, 3.06) has been wonderful since coming up from the minors earlier this season. The young left-hander has yet to allow more than three runs in any of his six career starts. Boston is 5-1 in Lester’s starts, the o/u 3-3.

This is Lester’s first career start vs. Oakland.

The A’s offense has struggled this year. Oakland owns a .323 team OBP, which ranks 4th-worst in the AL, and is averaging 4.3 runs per game. And that average dips a bit, to 4.1 RPG, vs. LH pitching.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, lead the majors with their .366 team OBP this season, and are averaging 5.7 RPG.

The A’s bullpen ranks 6th-best in the majors with a 3.76 ERA.

The Boston bullpen ranks 10th in the majors with a 3.99 ERA.

Red Sox banger Manny Ramirez, who sat out the All-Star game with a sore knee, is listed as probable for Thursday’s game.

The o/u is 40-45 in Oakland games this year, 47-38 in Boston games, and 22-15 at Fenway Park.

The Ultimatecapper Pick: We like the Red Sox here despite the heavy price.

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