Even though the Indians and Red Sox don’t play in the same division, this series is ripe with playoff implications as each side makes its push. Cleveland currently leads the Kansas City Royals by two games in the American League Central and are hoping to stay ahead. A recent lull by Boston has dropped it a half-game behind the New York Yankees in the American League East.
Both of these teams should make the postseason, but they don’t want to go in as wild cards because then they would be subject to a one game winner-take-all matchup with the other wild card entrant.
Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox
Dates: Monday, July 31, 2017 – Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Location: Fenway Park, Boston, MA
The Indians had their 10-game winning streak snapped last time out against the Red Sox, but that push has helped improve their record to 59-46, which is now the second-best in the American League behind the Houston Astros. The Red Sox aren’t far behind with a 59-49 record, but they have been heading the other way with only three wins in their past 10 contests.
Boston has been adding firepower for the stretch run, as they recently traded for Giants infielder Eduardo Nunez and called by top prospect Rafael Devers. The Red Sox are one of the most well-rounded teams in the majors but hope the bats get a little hotter down the stretch.
These teams boast two of the best starting rotations in baseball and this series will feature a few of the top-flight arms.
Game 1 Probable Pitchers – Monday, July 31, 2017, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Mike Clevinger (Indians) vs. Doug Fister (Red Sox)
Clevinger didn’t have a spot in the rotation to begin the year, but entered due to injury and has pitched so well that he’s remained. The young right-hander is 5-3 on the season with a 3.20 ERA and has struck out 78 batters in 70.1 innings pitched.
Fister used to be a dependable starter but he is no longer super effective and is being used as a spot starter. He has been awful this season with an 0-5 record and a 7.46 ERA. Fister has walked a bunch of batter in his seven games this season and might be hit hard by Cleveland unless he can figure something out that hasn’t been there thus far in 2017.
Game 2 Probable Pitchers – Tuesday, August 1, 2017, 7:10 p.m. ET (MLB Network)
Carlos Carrasco (Indians) vs. Chris Sale (Red Sox)
Carrasco is one of the best pitchers in the major leagues, but in this matchup he will only be the second-best starter in the game. That’s no slight to Carrasco, who has gone 10-4 this season with a 3.58 ERA. He has a WHIP of 1.09 and 135 strikeouts in 123.1 innings pitched, and so the Red Sox could have a tough time against him.
The scoring total should be extremely low with Sale facing him. The Red Sox star left-hander is 13-4 on the year with a 2.37 ERA and a microscopic 0.88 WHIP. Sale has a ridiculous 211 strikeouts in 148.1 innings pitched and is the front-runner for the Cy Young award heading into the final couple of months.
Game 3 Probable Pitchers – Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Trevor Bauer (Indians) vs. Rick Porcello (Red Sox)
Bauer is a former top draft pick who has never put it together. He has a nice strikeout rate this year but nothing else has gone right. The right-hander is 9-8 on the season with a 5.25 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Bauer only allowed one earned run in eight innings last time out but has been too inconsistent too trust.
Porcello was dominant in 2016 but has been below average this season. He is 4-14 with a 4.55 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP as opponents are batting .291 against him. Porcello has a good strikeout-to-walk ratio, and he’s definitely the pitcher among these two more capable of twirling a nice outing.