Loaiza was anything but healthy early this season, getting off to an awful start before going on the disabled list with a strained left trapezius from April 29-June 8. He was 3-5 with a 6.43 ERA in 10 starts before the All-Star break, and he's 4-2 with a 3.79 ERA in nine starts since the break.
"This is the Loaiza I know," said designated hitter Frank Thomas, a teammate of Loaiza's when Loaiza was the AL Cy Young Award runner-up in 2003 and the AL's starting pitcher in the 2004 All-Star Game. "He's a big-time pitcher, and he's getting it done when we need him the most."
The Red Sox will present a formidable challenge for Loaiza, who is 3-2 with a 4.76 ERA in 10 career appearances (nine starts) in his career against Boston. But the Red Sox have been reeling, losing nine of their past 11 games.
"I think that five-game series they had against the Yankees [last weekend] probably took a lot out of them," A's manager Ken Macha said. "They had a day-night doubleheader to start it off, and then a Sunday night game delayed by rain followed by a day game on Monday. I think that would have an adverse affect on just about any team.
"That said, they're still the Boston Red Sox. They've still got Manny [Ramirez] and [David] Ortiz and [Jonathan] Papelbon, and we're gonna see [Josh] Beckett and [Curt] Schilling in this series, so we're gonna have to continue to play good baseball, or they'll put a hurt on us."
Before Beckett and Schilling take their turns, though, the A's will get their first look at Gabbard, a rookie lefty who will be making his second Major League start.
"I don't know anything about him," Macha said, "but if they're throwing him out there in a pennant race, I'm sure he's a quality pitcher."
OAK: RHP Esteban Loaiza (12-7, 3.79 ERA)
Loaiza has started once against the Red Sox this season, allowing three runs on six hits and six walks over five innings in Boston on July 13.
BOS: LHP Kason Gabbard (0-2, 3.38 ERA)
Gabbard started against the Mariners on July 22, giving up eight hits and two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. He has pitched twice in relief, giving up a run over 2 2/3 innings.
Player to watch
Ortiz is 12-for-29 (.429) with three doubles, six walks and a .529 on-base percentage in his career against Loaiza.
On the Internet
Official game notes
KYCY 1550 AM, KNTS 1220 AM
Tuesday: Red Sox (RHP Josh Beckett, 14-8, 5.21 ERA) at A's (TBD), 7:05 p.m. PT
Wednesday: Red Sox (RHP Curt Schilling, 14-6, 3.95 ERA) at A's (LHP Barry Zito, 14-8, 3.64 ERA), 12:35 p.m. PT