Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 7/12/13
The last series before the All-Star break features a clash between the American League’s best two teams. The Boston Red Sox and Oakland A’s meet for a three-game set in Oakland on Friday with both teams sitting atop their respective divisions. The Red Sox hold the best record in baseball at 57-37, while the A’s (54-38) have already tied the 2003 squad for the most wins by an A’s team at this point in the last 25 years. With both teams in the midst of tight division races, it is essential for the teams to head into the All-Star break with not only somewhat of a cushion in their respective divisions, but also with momentum. The Red Sox will turn to Jacoby Ellsbury to keep the major league’s best offense clicking on all cylinders. Ellsbury is in the middle of a 19-game hit streak during which he is hitting .413 with two homers and 11 RBIs. Mike Napoli is back in the lineup hitting fifth for the Sox and playing first base after a night off Thursday. Daniel Nava will follow Napoli in the order and will look to improve upon his .375 batting average over the last seven days. Although he was only 1-for-6 in Thursday’s win over the Mariners, his lone hit drove in the go-ahead run with two outs in the 10th inning. The Red Sox will be facing Oakland righty Jarrod Parker, who is 4-0 with a 2.24 ERA in his last eight starts. Check out the starting lineups for both teams below. Boston Red Sox (57-37) Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Shane Victorino, RF Dustin Pedroia, 2B David Ortiz, DH Mike Napoli, 1B Daniel Nava, LF Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C Jose Iglesias, SS Brock Holt, 3B John Lackey, RHP Oakland Athletics (54-38) Coco Crisp, CF John Jaso, C Josh Donaldson, 3B Jed Lowrie, SS Yoenis Cespedes, LF Brandon Moss, 1B Josh Reddick, RF Seth Smith, DH Eric Sogard, 2B Jarrod Parker, RHP

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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