Both teams are fighting for their divisional titles and this “Wednesday Night Baseball” clash will be an important one as the season hits its stretch run.
Cleveland Indians at Boston Red Sox
Date and Time: Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Fenway Park
Probable Pitchers: Trevor Bauer vs. Rick Porcello
Indians vs. Red Sox TV Coverage: ESPN
The Boston Red Sox have three big names atop their starting rotation which should make them tough come playoff time, but in order for that to be reality, Rick Porcello needs to turn it on. The right-hander was dominant in 2016 and won the Cy Young Award, but has not been on that same level this season.
Porcello enters this matchup with a 4-14 record and a 4.55 ERA. He has a solid strikeout-to-walk ratio but leads the major leagues in hits allowed and has to induce more soft contact. Porcello still has the ability to be an elite starter and hopes to show it against Cleveland.
The Indians’ Trevor Bauer has great strikeout numbers in 2017 but not much else. He is 9-8 with a 5.25 ERA on the season and a 1.46 WHIP. Bauer has a 3.90 FIP so there is hope he will soon turn it around, but his FIP has consistently outperformed his ERA throughout his career.
Bauer, like Porcello this year, gets hit hard consistently and has to show the ability to get out of jams in order for his ERA to come down. There is no doubting Bauer’s stuff, but he has yet to put it all together.
The teams have yet to play this season, with a four-game set in late August and this series the only seven games they will play. The last time they met was in the postseason.
Despite many key injuries in their starting rotation, Cleveland was able to sweep the ALDS. They won the first game by a score of 5-4, got a shutout from ace Corey Kluber for an easy 6-0 win in Game 2 and then held on for a 4-3 victory in Game 3 to advance.
Indians vs. Red Sox Picks
The Indians have been the slightly better team than Boston this season, with a few more wins and a better run-differential. Cleveland’s bullpen is elite, with Cody Allen closing games and Andrew Miller coming in whenever needed earlier on.
If this game remains close late, the Indians will feel good about their chances because of their relief pitching. However, the starting pitching matchup is heavily slanted in favor of the Red Sox. Even though Porcello has an ugly ERA like Bauer, he is a much more established pitcher and has been more consistent this season.
Bauer has swing-and-miss stuff, but the problem is that the Red Sox have a bunch of batters who rarely strike out. While a good outing is certainly possible because Bauer has the ability to do it, the odds are that Boston touches him up.
The home field advantage is another big key, as the Red Sox are 30-20 at home on the year. Cleveland has played well on the road, but this is a tall task.
Take Boston to capture this victory as Porcello should be able to put together a good outing despite his struggles this year. If the Red Sox can get it to the ninth inning with the lead, they will hand the ball to the best closer in baseball, Craig Kimbrel.
These are definitely two of the best teams in the major leagues and they both should make the playoffs, but Boston is the one that will get a small measure of revenge on Cleveland after last year’s playoff exit.
Indians vs. Red Sox Pick: Parlay the Red Sox/Under at BookMaker.eu
Cardinals vs. Cubs Score Prediction: Red Sox 5 – Indians 3