The Red Sox finish a West coast road trip in Oakland riding a three-game winning streak. Two first place teams get together for one last series before a well-earned break during All-Star Weekend. A good pitching matchup in this one as John Lackey takes his 2.80 ERA into Oakland Colosseum to take on A’s right-hander Jarrod Parker. Oakland opens up as a small home favorite.
The Sox come into Oakland swinging pretty hot bats that have managed to put up 29 runs in their last three games over at Safeco Field. This game may bring a dramatic turn for Boston, who gets to see 24-year-old Jarrod Parker of Oakland. Often overlooked, like many of the A’s starting pitchers, Parker is putting together a pretty good season that probably should look a bit better. Parker boasts an ERA just over 4 and a whip right around 1.20. He also has not surrendered more than three runs in any one start since the first week in May when he gave up four runs to a good Cleveland lineup. In fact, his ERA has dropped 3.30 runs since that start on May 6 and Parker is beginning to throw like everyone in the Oakland front office knows he can. Current Red Sox batters have just 26 combined at-bats against Parker with relatively average success. I look for Parker to come out against a pretty unfamiliar lineup in the Red Sox and grind through five or six very good innings and turn it over to the ‘pen.
John Lackey has been throwing the ball about as well as he ever has in his career this year after a full year off of Tommy John surgery. The time off getting healthy and mentally straight has served Big John well as Lackey carries a 2.80 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP into Oakland ready to try and shut down a scrappy A’s lineup. Recent success is rather irrelevant for Lackey this season, as he has been about as consistently good as just about anybody in the league right now. Lackey has some experience with two batters in the A’s lineup. Coco Crisp hits just 5 for 30 in his career against Lackey while John Jaso does has some success against Lackey with a 5 for 12 career mark. Other than that, Lackey is a relative mystery for this Oakland lineup. Look for Lackey to continue throwing the ball well going into the All-Star break and shut down Oakland for six or seven innings with a couple small blemishes here and there.
Good pitching matchup in this one and I’m not so sure the starters are getting the respect from the sports books that they deserve. The total on the game is correct at 7.5 but the first five innings seems to be half a run too high. Take the under and look for a push at worst with two studs dueling.