Garrett Richards, Red Sox try to prevent sweep by Athletics

MLB Baseball

For as much success as the Boston Red Sox have had this season, consistency at home continues to elude the club.

A 4-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday was the Red Sox’s third straight, dropping the team to 10-11 at Fenway Park. Boston looks to avoid a sweep when it hosts the A’s in the finale of a three-game series Thursday.

Right-hander Garrett Richards (2-2, 4.54 ERA) takes the mound for the hosts, looking to pick up his third win in his last four starts. Left-hander Sean Manaea (3-1, 3.07) will go for Oakland after narrowly falling short of a no-hitter last time out.

The Red Sox have scored eight runs total in their last four games after scoring 45 runs in their previous five. Boston had plenty of chances Wednesday, going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

“We know we’re a good offense,” said manager Alex Cora. “When the big boys are not swinging the bat, the other guys have to contribute, too.”

Two of Boston’s greatest offensive threats — Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers — each left five men on base in the loss to the A’s.

“They’re not going to carry the offense for 162 games,” Cora said. “We know that they’re going to go through their ups and downs.”

A four-game skid would be a season high for the Red Sox, who hadn’t lost three straight since beginning the season 0-3.

The Athletics improved to 4-1 in their last five and 7-3 in their last 10 with Wednesday’s victory. Oakland is 10-4 on the road and leads the majors with 23 wins.

Oakland’s James Kaprelian (1-0) picked up his first major league win Wednesday, allowing one run on four hits and three walks over five innings in a 4-1 victory. He struck out six.

It was three years ago last month when Manaea hurled his first no-hitter at the Red Sox’s expense. He nearly had No. 2 when he entered the eighth without having given up a hit against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 7.

Manaea quickly gave up a double and a game-tying single to end up with a no-decision.

“He’s been throwing it well all year,” said Seth Brown, who ended that game with a walk-off home run. “He’s incredible. Every time he takes the mound, he just has that confident look to him. It’s just fun to watch him throw.”

Manaea hasn’t lost since his first outing of the season. Despite his 2018 no-hitter, he is 3-2 with a 6.84 ERA in five starts against Boston.

Richards is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in his last three starts. He earned the win last time out despite being tagged for four runs on eight hits over seven innings against the Baltimore Orioles.

Richards, a longtime member of the Los Angeles Angels, is 3-4 with a 4.29 ERA in 18 games (14 starts) versus Oakland.

After Thursday, the Red Sox will host the Angels for a three-game series. The Athletics will continue on the road to take on the Minnesota Twins for a three-game set.

–Field Level Media

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