A’s, struggling with attendance, host Red Sox

MLB

The Oakland Athletics expect fireworks, but not a capacity crowd, when the popular Boston Red Sox open a three-game series on Friday night in Oakland.

Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (6-4, 5.83 ERA) and Oakland righty Frankie Montas (7-7, 4.72) are the scheduled starters in the opener of a showcase series between the top team in the American League East and the second-place club from the AL West.

The game appeared to be on its way to a sellout before the A’s announced Thursday they would cut off sales at 30,000 because of a situation involving Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the mass-transit system that often delivers a huge percentage of fans to A’s games.

BART announced Thursday that its final train would leave the Oakland Coliseum station at about 10:10 p.m. on Friday, before the fireworks show is scheduled to start.

A’s president Dave Kaval took to Twitter to express his dissatisfaction with the decision, especially when BART continued service well after a fireworks show that followed the A’s game in San Francisco last Friday.

“Super disappointed that SFBART won’t be running trains after our big fireworks night especially since they ran trains for the SFGiants similar games,” Kaval wrote. “I hope they reconsider their decision. We should not receive lower service levels here in the East Bay.”

A’s attendance was low in a just-completed three-game home series against Texas, with 4,739 on hand Tuesday night, 4,320 on Wednesday night and 5,182 on Thursday afternoon.

By comparison, the Giants’ fireworks show across the San Francisco Bay drew 36,928 last Friday.

After Thursday’s 8-3 loss to the Rangers, which gave the A’s eight losses in their past 12 games, Oakland manager Bob Melvin chose to focus on what’s been happening between the lines.

“We haven’t played great,” he observed. “We haven’t played our best the last 10 days or so.”

Montas has lost during in that stretch, June 21 at Texas, when he allowed eight runs in 5 2/3 innings. He bounced back with a solid effort in San Francisco last Saturday, limiting the Giants to two runs in five innings in a 6-5 Oakland loss.

The 28-year-old has never beaten the Red Sox, going 0-1 with a 1.13 ERA in three games, only one of which has been a start.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez has gone just 2-3 with a 4.57 ERA in seven career starts against the A’s.

He started five straight Red Sox wins in June, although he got credit for just one triumph. That occurred in his most recent start — Sunday against the New York Yankees — when he allowed two runs in six innings in a 9-2 home victory.

The Red Sox swept three games from the Yankees in that series, and they did one better to the Kansas City Royals in their visit with a four-game sweep that concluded Thursday afternoon in a 15-1 Boston rout.

The seven-game winning streak is Boston’s second-longest of the season after a nine-gamer in April.

“We’re in a good place right now,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora noted. “And now we’ve got another challenge, right? … We’ve got to keep getting challenges … because we’re going to keep proving ourselves, and that’s not going to stop.”

–Field Level Media

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