Tavarez to kick off West Coast trip

Tavarez to kick off West Coast trip

The Red Sox knew well in advance that their first West Coast trip of the season would begin with a big challenge.

Following a nationally televised game against the Yankees, the team had to hop on an early morning red-eye flight to California to open a four-game series with the A's starting Monday in Oakland.

For that reason, the team decided to send out starter Julian Tavarez (4-5, 5.40 ERA) and Tuesday's starter Daisuke Matsuzaka a day early so they wouldn't have to battle jet lag.

"We got Tavarez out and Dice-K," Red Sox skipper Terry Francona said. "Best case scenario, we're going to pull in around 6 a.m. PT. Worst case, who knows?"

Adding to the challenge, the bleary-eyed Sox will be facing baseball's ERA leader for starters in Dan Haren, who is 6-2, with a 1.64 ERA. Haren's teammate Chad Gaudin is second with a 2.32 ERA.

Francona said the team is grateful to ownership for making the extra effort to accommodate the pitchers.

"The Red Sox have always been terrific about doing that when we ask, and we really appreciate it," he added. "If everybody's going to feel bad, maybe our starting pitcher won't and that hopefully will help."

The Red Sox split their two games against Oakland on May 1 and 2 at Fenway, losing the first game 5-4 in 10 innings, their lone extra-inning game of the season. Boston bounced back to win the second behind Josh Beckett's sixth consecutive win to start the season.

This is Boston's only trip to Oakland but the first of three different West Coast swings this season. The Red Sox will travel to San Diego and Seattle beginning June 22 and will head to Seattle and Anaheim as part of a three-city, nine-game trip beginning Aug. 3.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Julian Tavarez (3-4, 4.50 ERA)
Tavarez will make this start on seven days of rest, as the Red Sox used their off-day to make some adjustments to the rotation. Tavarez has been solid in May, going 2-2 with a 3.99 ERA in five outings. In his last start, he surrendered a 3-0 lead by giving up four runs in the bottom of the sixth. He took a no-decision in a game the Red Sox went on to win. Tavarez is 1-1 lifetime against the A' with a 4.85 ERA.

OAK: RHP Dan Haren (6-2, 1.64 ERA)
Haren was brilliant yet again his last time out, holding the visiting Rangers to a run on four hits and three walks in eight innings. Haren, who has won his past six decisions after starting the year 0-2 despite a 0.69 ERA, hasn't lost in 10 starts and has worked at least seven innings in eight of his past nine assignments. He's won all six of the starts in which he's received at least two runs of support.

Player to watch
Right fielder J.D. Drew will make the trip and could return to the lineup Monday night, after missing the last two games of the Yankees series with a strained right hamstring. Drew is hoping the rest will help break him out of a .155 slump over his last 32 games, dropping his average to a season-low .222.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WRKO-680 AM, Spanish Baseball Network (Español)

Up next
• Tuesday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 7-3, 4.83) at Athletics (Lenny DiNardo (1-2, 1.80), 10:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 5-6, 4.24) at Athletics (Joe Kennedy, 1-4, 3.30), 10:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Red Sox (Curt Schilling, 5-2, 3.91) at Athletics (Joe Blanton, 5-3, 3.81), 3:35 p.m. ET

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.