The Athletics may not stay rooted in Oakland for much longer, but for now, they are staying focused on their task at hand in Boston.
As news broke Tuesday of the possibility of a league-backed relocation, the only thing the Athletics were concerned about was finding a way to prevail against a talented Red Sox team in a midweek series between two division leaders.
James Kaprielian will be turning all of his attention toward the 60 feet, 6 inches between him and home plate at Fenway Park as he makes his first major league start on Wednesday night in the second game of the three-game set.
The 27-year-old right-hander, a 2015 first-round draft pick, made all of 28 minor league appearances before reaching the majors last year.
Kaprielian, ranked by MLB.com as Oakland’s 10th-best prospect, went 6-6 with a 3.00 ERA and 116 strikeouts over 102 innings in the minors. He joined the A’s on two occasions last season, pitching out of the bullpen twice and allowing three runs in 3 2/3 innings.
“This is a big time in his career. He’s getting an opportunity to come here and start,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s pitched out of the bullpen for us, you know, has gotten his feet wet at the big league level, but this is a real opportunity for him. I know he’s been looking forward to it.”
The Red Sox will turn to someone with a more proven track record on the mound, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez.
Rodriguez (5-0, 3.82 ERA) seeks an American League-high sixth win after giving up just one run on seven hits with a pair of strikeouts in a 6-2 victory at Baltimore on Friday.
The southpaw extended his streak of starts with at least five innings pitched to 34, trailing only Cleveland’s Shane Bieber (40) for the longest active streak in the majors.
Boston has scored at least four runs in each of Rodriguez’s seven starts this season.
“I know every time I go out there I’ve just got to keep the game like it is because I know the lineup we have, I know they’re gonna score some runs,” Rodriguez said. “I just go out there and try to keep the lower runs for them.”
Rodriguez is 2-2 with a 4.33 ERA in six career starts against the Athletics. Stephen Piscotty (5-for-8, 2 HR, 6 RBIs) and Matt Chapman (3-for-7, 3 RBIs) have feasted on Rodriguez’s pitching in their prior at-bats against him.
Oakland quieted the Boston bats and held off the hosts for a 3-2 win to open the series Tuesday night. Chapman hit the go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning, and Elvis Andrus’ ensuing single knocked in what proved to be the decisive run.
The A’s won for the sixth time in nine games and tied the Red Sox, the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants for the major league lead in victories, 22.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox lost their second straight after winning four in a row and five of six.
–Field Level Media