The champions, Boston Red Sox continue their season opening 11-game western road show with a four-game set at the Oakland Athletics before wrapping up against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Historically a top of the rotation starter, David Price opens the series in Oakland, not making his first start until Boston’s fifth game. The team gave him a couple of extra days to recover from a norovirus he’s been dealing with in spring. Price comes off a spectacular season where he made 30 starts, going 16-7 with 177 strikeouts in 176 innings with a 3.58 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. He matched it with an impressive post season performance. Price faces Oakland’s Wade LeBlanc, the light tossing left hander, also making his season debut.
Boston ace, Chris Sale follows Price in game 2 looking to recover from an Opening Day shellacking at the hands of the Mariners, giving up seven runs in just three innings. Albeit a road start, he’s found success pitching in Oakland, owning a 2.83 ERA in five starts. Rounding out the final two starts will be Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez, both of which look for better results after taking some lumps in their first time out.
The Athletics will also trot out starters Aaron Brooks and Mike Fiers in the series. For Brooks, at 28-years old, he makes the 25-man roster to start the season for the first time in career. Mike Fiers makes his third start of the season with mixed results in the first two. After getting roped in Japan, he bounced back nicely against the Angels, allowing only one hit in six scoreless frames. In four appearances against the Red Sox, he’s had good success with a 1.99 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 22 innings.
While their offense seems to have gotten off to a good start, Boston pitching got roughed up pretty good in their opening series so look for a better showing for a team that will soon find their rhythm. This series will come down to Boston’s pitching and if they can hold Oakland’s tough lineup at bay.