Records aside, the A's and Red Sox are quite similar. Just ask their managers.
"I think the front offices both value a lot of the same numbers and look at the same type of players," said Oakland manager Bob Melvin.
"In many ways, offensively, they're a lot like we are," added Boston manager John Farrell. "We value the same things in hitters, and that's to get on base. They've done a good job of putting runs on the board."
Except Farrell's club shut down the first-place A's in Friday's three-game series opener, led by an impressive Clay Buchholz. On Saturday, ace Jon Lester will make his turn against Oakland, with southpaw Tommy Milone going for the A's.
Lester is 2-4 on the season, but it is through little fault of his own. The veteran left-hander has a run-support average of 2.43, by far the lowest of any of Boston's five starters.
In Lester's last start, he gave up four runs over seven innings in a 7-1 loss to the Blue Jays.
"Once again, Jon worked deep into the ballgame and gave us an opportunity to win," Farrell said. "He has been the one guy in our rotation where runs are a premium and are seemingly hard to come by."
Lester, being the pro he is, has taken it well.
"You always have to stay positive and always have to look at the positives," Lester said. "Any time you sit there and beat your head against the wall, it's a negative thing. I can't control wins, I can't control losses -- I can only control what I do those five days and the preparation I have in between pitches."
Similarly, Milone has received no run support in two of his four starts this year, and just 22 runs of support overall in his 21 losses in three seasons with the A's.
In his most recent outing in Houston, the lefty surrendered a season-high four runs but was on the mound longer than in any of his previous three stars, going 6 2/3 innings in a 5-1 loss to the Astros.
Milone allowed just five hits with two strikeouts and two walks in the outing, with Melvin saying after the game, "He pitched as well as we've seen him in a while."
Milone didn't fare well in his only other career start against the Red Sox, allowing eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits and a walk with five strikeouts in a loss on April 30, 2012. Lester, meanwhile, is 4-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 12 career starts vs. the A's, but he has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last four starts against them.
A's: Norris takes hot bat into matchup with Lester
Before flying out in a pinch-hit at-bat on Friday, A's catcher Derek Norris had five straight multihit games (11-for-18). Yet he was left out of the lineup against the right-handed Buchholz, as the A's stuck with the platoon system and started John Jaso behind the plate.
But there's no question Norris will appear in Saturday's lineup, with Lester pitching for Boston. He's 1-for-4 in his career against the southpaw.
Norris is batting .379 overall, which is the best mark in the Majors among batters with at least 60 plate appearances. With runners in scoring position, he's been even better, hitting .450 (9-for-20).
Red Sox: Pedroia locks up home run No. 100
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia enters Saturday an official member of Boston's 100/100 club, having tallied his 100th career home run -- a grand slam -- in the sixth inning of Friday's win to go along with his 121st stolen base.
Pedroia joins Carl Yastrzemski (452 home runs, 168 stolen bases) as the only players ever to record at least 100 of each with the Red Sox.
Pedroia has reached base safely 32 times in 16 games since returning to Boston's starting lineup on April 16.
• The A's dropped their ninth game in 15 tries when allowing the opponent to score first Friday. They're 12-2 when scoring first.
• Boston outfielder Grady Sizemore has hit .318 in 46 career games against the A's, his best batting average against any American League team.