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Be prepared for the Red Sox to have a winning record after series with Oakland A's

BOSTON -- Under the weight of having absolutely no expectations placed upon them, the Boston Red Sox opened up their season and handled themselves decently well in Seattle. Facing a Mariners team that finished a game out of a playoff spot last year, the Red Sox split their four-game set, and they have good reason to believe they should have won three.

And while few folks predicted a series split for the Red Sox in Seattle, everybody ought to get ready for the Red Sox to sit three games over .500 in a few days.

That's because the Red Sox are in Oakland. And the Oakland A's stink.

The A's, by some miracle, got their first win of the year on Sunday. After blowing a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning against the Guardians, the A's scraped across the game-winning run with the rare walkoff walk. Cleveland's Eli Morgan threw four pitches -- all balls, none of which were particularly close to the strike zone -- to pinch hitter Abraham Toro, an appropriate way for MLB's worst team to pick up its first win.

Exciting stuff.

Prior to that win, the A's lost 8-0, 6-4, and 12-3 to the Guardians, who aren't a particularly great team themselves.

The A's have a 6.00 team ERA, which should help the Red Sox bats wake up after a mediocre start against a good pitching staff in Seattle. The A's are also hitting just .216 as a team, which should allow the Red Sox' strong start on the mound (2.04 team ERA, second-best in MLB) to continue.

And what the A's may lack in pitching and offense ... they also lack in defense. The A's lead MLB with eight errors thus far, owning by far the worst team fielding percentage at .947. (The Blue Jays are second-worst, at .965.) Shortstop Nick Allen has three errors in 21 total chances, while five other A's have one error apiece. (The Red Sox have just two errors thus far.)

The pitching matchups for this series look like this:

Monday, 9:40 p.m. ET: Joe Boyle vs. Tanner Houck
Tuesday, 9:40 p.m. ET: Alex Wood vs. Brayan Bello
Wednesday, 3:37 p.m. ET: Ross Stripling vs. Nick Pivetta

The series opener is interesting, as Joe Boyle pitched well last year in his first three big league starts. He went 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA over 16 innings, striking out 15 batters and walking five. He also had a 2.25 ERA in three starts at Triple-A last year. The 24-year-old had a rough spring (5.89 ERA over 18.1 innings, with 19 strikeouts and 15 walks), so we'll see how much that translates to the regular season.

Alex Wood allowed six earned runs and lasted just 3.1 innings in his one start this year, and Ross Stripling allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits with two walks over five innings in his start. The A's bullpen has a 4.76 ERA thus far, which isn't terrible in league rankings (18th) but is nevertheless significantly worse than Boston's bullpen ERA of 2.70. Oakland relievers do have a 1.71 WHIP, which is fifth-worst in MLB.

The A's also won't have much of a home-field advantage in terms of fans in the ballpark, as they've averaged an impossibly low 6,725 people per game thus far. And even that number might be generous, based on the photos of empty seats during the opening series.

Oakland Coliseum
A mostly empty Oakland Coliseum on Opening Day for the A's. Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

In baseball, no matter the discrepancy between two teams, sweeps are hard to pull off. Even the worst team can snag a win against the best team. So we shouldn't expect a Red Sox sweep of the A's. But we should be prepared for it. The Red Sox could come out of this three-game series with a 5-2 record, but they should at the very worst head into Anaheim with a 4-3 record.

Because, again, the Oakland A's stink.

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