Sox continue road trip with Oakland set

Sox continue road trip with Oakland set

After being swept out of Seattle by the last-place team in the American League West, the Red Sox will take a crack at the leaders of the division, the red-hot Oakland Athletics.

The Red Sox will begin this series having lost nine of their last 11, 11 of their last 14, and 18 of 28 during August.

They'll hand the ball to spot starter Kason Gabbard, who will take the place of injured left-hander Jon Lester.

With 32 games left, the Red Sox trail the Yankees by 6 1/2 games in the AL East and the Twins by 5 1/2 games in the Wild Card standings.

"We're not thinking about that," said catcher Javy Lopez. "We're just thinking about bouncing back from this series. This series is over, and now we're going to focus on the Oakland series and what we need to do better."

Despite the way the Red Sox have played of late, the A's won't be taking them lightly.

"They're still the Boston Red Sox," said Oakland manager Ken Macha. "They've still got Manny [Ramirez] and [David] Ortiz and [Jonathan] Papelbon, and we're gonna see [Josh] Beckett and [Curt] Schilling in this series, so we're gonna have to continue to play good baseball or they'll put a hurt on us."

The Red Sox can't afford any more hurt.

"There's just a lot of bad things that are coming about right now, and we've just got to turn the tables and make our own luck," said first baseman Kevin Youkilis. "We can't rely on the luck to come our way. We have to make our own luck, and we've got to play better ball."

They've also got to start hitting. The Red Sox have scored a mere 16 runs on the first six games of this trip, and five of them came in one game.

"You know, the biggest thing is, I think, the belief in each other and what we're trying to do," said manager Terry Francona. "It's not an easy task. We've painted ourselves in such a corner, and we're losing games we think we should win. One night our bullpen gives up a run, or we don't get hits."

Pitching matchup
BOS: LHP Kason Gabbard (0-2, 3.38 ERA)
The rookie left-hander will fill in for the ailing Lester and make his second Major League start. Gabbard started against the Mariners on July 22, giving up eight hits and two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings in a tough-luck loss. He has pitched twice in relief, giving up a run over 2 2/3 innings.

OAK: RHP Esteban Loaiza (7-7, 5.12 ERA)
In his last start, Loaiza threw the sixth complete-game shutout of his career with a four-hit whitewashing of the Blue Jays. He needed just 103 pitches to complete his gem, and at one point retired 15 consecutive batters. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.76 ERA in his last five starts, and has recorded 27 strikeouts against just three walks in that span. He is 3-2 with a 4.76 ERA in 10 career appearances against Boston.

Player to watch
Ortiz is 12-for-28 (.429) lifetime against Loaiza.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WEEI 850 AM, WROL 950 AM (Español)

Up next
• Tuesday: Red Sox (RHP Josh Beckett, 14-8, 5.21) at Athletics (RHP Kirk Saarloos, 6-6, 4.66), 10:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Red Sox (RHP Curt Schilling, 14-6, 3.95) at Athletics (LHP Barry Zito, 14-8, 3.64), 3:35 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Red Sox (LHP David Wells, 2-3, 4.98) vs. Blue Jays (RHP Roy Halladay, 16-4, 3.12), 7:05 p.m. ET

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.