Kennedy Leads Oakland Against Red Sox Print
Wednesday, 06 June 2007 13:01
MLB Headline News

A's Try for 3rd Straight

The Oakland Athletics are playing their best ball of the season on their current homestand, and outstanding starting pitching has been the biggest reason why.

Left-hander Joe Kennedy looks to give the A's another stellar effort from their rotation and a third straight victory over the Boston Red Sox when the teams continue their four-game set Wednesday night.

Oddsmakers have made Boston -130 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 74% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston -130 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Oakland (30-27) has won six of the first eight games of its 10-game homestand - the last two coming over Boston - to move a season-high three games above .500. The A's had not been more than two games away from the .500 mark in either direction all year prior to Tuesday night's 2-0 victory.

Former Red Sox left-hander Lenny DiNardo gave up just two hits while walking six over six innings Tuesday, as Boston (37-20) squandered a pair of bases-loaded opportunities and grounded into four double plays on the night. Athletics starters have a major league-leading 2.99 ERA, and they have been even better on this homestand, compiling a 5-1 record and 1.13 ERA.

Eric Chavez, whose 11th-inning homer gave the A's a 5-4 win in Monday's series opener, hit another solo shot Tuesday. The third baseman has four homers and seven RBIs during the homestand.

"Just the last week, I really got healthy," said Chavez, who has struggled with a triceps injury. "Going through (the injury problems) I did last year, and then a different issue this year, at times I just wanted to give up. We've finally got this figured out, and I just hope it's for the duration."

Although he doesn't have the wins to show for it, Kennedy (1-4, 3.30 ERA) has been another dominant member of Oakland's rotation, especially at home. The southpaw has a 1.91 ERA in five starts at McAfee Coliseum, but is 0-1 in those outings as he has received only 2.5 average runs in support.

Kennedy turned in another strong effort Friday against Minnesota, allowing just one run over eight innings in a 3-2, 10-inning defeat.

He is 1-2 with a 4.59 ERA in 12 career appearances, including eight starts, versus the Red Sox.

Boston left fielder Manny Ramirez has always hit Kennedy well, going 9-for-21 (.429) with a homer and five doubles against him.

While Athletics starters have yielded only seven earned runs over the first eight games of their homestand, Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (5-6, 4.24) has surrendered more than triple that total - 23 - in his last four starts.

After posting a AL-leading 1.79 ERA through his first seven outings of 2007, Wakefield has struggled mightily since, going 1-3 with a 9.13 ERA and .318 opponent batting average.

On Friday night against the New York Yankees, the 40-year-old right-hander gave up a season-high eight runs in just 3 2-3 innings, yielding five hits in walking six in Boston's 9-5 defeat. He threw 81 pitches in the shortest outing for a Red Sox starter this season.

"We're into the fourth inning and I think he had already gotten over 80 pitches," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona on the team's official Web site. "So that's a good indication that something's not going according to plan. A lot of deep counts, a lot of walks, some hit batsmen, some hits."

Wakefield is 9-4 with a 4.03 ERA in 34 career games, including 23 starts, against the A's. He has not lost to them since 2002.

The Red Sox own baseball's best record and a nine-game lead over Toronto in the AL East, but have dropped three straight games for the first time this season and five of six.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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