Boston (81-54) at Oakland (81-55)

Sunny Currently: Oakland, CA, US
Temp: 67° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Mon Sep 6, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics might be headed for another postseason showdown.

But first, two of the hottest teams in the majors get a chance to feel each other out for three games at Network Associates Coliseum.

Last October, Boston and Oakland played a memorable AL division series, with the A’s taking the first two games at home, dropping the next two at Fenway Park and losing their fourth straight first-round playoff series with a 4-3 Game 5 defeat in Oakland.

With Oakland leading the AL West and Boston out in front in the race for the wild card, if the season ended now, the teams would again be paired up in the opening round.

The A’s, who have lost just three of their last 19 games to take control of the West, will be looking to send the Red Sox a message after dropping five of the first six meetings between the teams this season.

Boston might have its sights set on bigger goals.

Curt Schilling won his major league-leading 18th game Sunday as Boston held on for a 6-5 victory over Texas and remained within 2 1/2 games of the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East.

The Red Sox, who have won 17 of their last 19, have six games left with the defending AL champs, giving them a shot at their first division title since 1995.

But first they’ll try to maintain their momentum on a seven-game road trip.

“We did what we had to do this homestand,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “We have to go out, take care of business and take advantage of what we’ve done so far.”

The A’s had a sloppy tuneup for their big series with Boston, committing five errors in a 13-4 loss to Toronto on Sunday.

The A’s committed two errors before even recording an out. They hadn’t committed five errors in a game since Sept. 3, 2003, at Baltimore.

“You can’t keep pitching great and playing great,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “We had an extremely poor day.”

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Starting Pitchers

B. Arroyo CIN vs. B. Zito OAK
10-9 Record 11-11
4.03 ERA 4.48
142 K 163
47 BB 81
1.22 WHIP 1.39