BOSTON RED SOX (27-30)
at CLEVELAND INDIANS (28-30)
First pitch: Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. ET
Line: Boston -110, Cleveland +100, Total: 8.5
The Red Sox and Indians meet for game two of their three-game series on Tuesday night as both clubs look to inch closer to the .500 mark.
Boston has been one of the streakiest teams in the league this season as it followed its 10-game losing streak with a seven-game winning streak before losing Monday night’s game to Cleveland by a score of 3-2. The recent winning streak was impressive, as it outscored its opponents 36-15, and included a sweep by both the Braves and Rays. The Red Sox scratched out only five hits in this series opener though, and wasted a solid performance out of starter John Lackey (8 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 3 K’s) and a monster two-run homer from rookie 3B Xander Bogaerts. The youngster has been heating up lately, and is 26-for-63 (.413 BA) with seven doubles, three homers, 10 RBI and 12 runs since May 17. Cleveland has its own winning streak going with four straight victories coming into this contest. Before Monday’s win, the club swept the Rockies in three games at home with the offense clicking on all cylinders; scoring 18 runs with eight extra-base hits (4 doubles, 4 HR) in the series. OF Michael Bourn (.294 BA) has provided tremendous output from the leadoff position and is 24-for-67 (.358) with three doubles, two homers, 5 RBI and 12 runs over his past 16 contests. Attempting to provide Boston with a big start in this game will be veteran RHP Jake Peavy (1-2, 4.50 ERA) who has allowed 5+ earned runs in three of his past four starts. Getting the call for the host Indians is 24-year-old LHP T.J. House (0-1, 4.05 ERA), as he starts just his third career big-league game. When playing on the road, the Red Sox have gone 12-13 this year and could run into some problems this series, as the Indians are a fantastic 19-11 in their hometown. Even with Monday’s loss, Boston has dominated this matchup over the past three seasons, going 11-5 overall, including 5-3 in all games played in Cleveland. Bettors should also take notice that the Red Sox are 62-36 (.633) after a loss in the past two seasons while going just 10-22 (.313) versus an AL team with an on-base percentage of .330 or worse this year. As far as injuries are concerned, 1B Mike Napoli (finger), 1B Mike Carp (foot), OF Shane Victorino (hamstring) and 3B Will Middlebrooks (finger) all still remain on the DL for Boston, while C Carlos Santana (concussion) and OF Nick Swisher (knee) will miss some time for the Indians.
Jake Peavy has not been having an ideal season, tallying a career-low strikeout rate (6.9 K/9) and a career-high walk rate (3.8 BB/9). He is also serving up far too many home runs (1.32 HR/9) and has not won a game since April 25. Peavy's last outing was encouraging though, as he tossed eight innings against the Braves while giving up three runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out four. Peavy earned a no-decision in the outing, but his team won for the first time in his past four starts. He has plenty of experience against the Indians in his career, facing them 11 times with a 5-3 record (5-6 team record), 3.93 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. His outing against them last season was tremendous, as he went seven innings while allowing only one run on five hits and zero walks with 11 strikeouts. OF Michael Bourn has done well versus Peavy in limited at-bats, going 3-for-5 with a solo homer, while 2B Jason Kipnis is just 2-for-8 in the matchup as both of his hits left the yard. Meanwhile, OF Michael Brantley and SS Asdrubel Cabrera have combined to go just 9-for-39 (.231) when facing the veteran with a home run, 5 RBI and 11 strikeouts. Boston’s bullpen has been unbelievable this year, going 9-10 with a 2.74 ERA and 1.23 WHIP while allowing just 13 homers in 180.2 innings and converting 13-of-16 save opportunities. Closer Koji Uehara (0.76 ERA, 11 saves) has an impressive 34:3 K/BB ratio in 23.2 frames and is perfect in his save chances.
T.J. House has been getting his first sip of the majors with Zach McAllister (back injury) riding the DL and he is coming off a great start in his last outing against the White Sox. In that contest, he pitched six strong innings, allowing one run on five hits and one walk while fanning eight batters. House is not a huge strikeout pitcher though, as he posted 7.0 K/9 in 141.2 Triple-A innings last year and 7.4 K/9 in 41.1 Triple-A frames this season, but has showed improved control while walking just three batters in 13.1 IP at the major-league level. Without getting swings-and-misses, House has had to rely on his defense behind him since he has a solid 65.9% ground-ball rate in his time with the Indians. As he looks for his first career MLB win, he will need to be careful with DH David Ortiz (.263 BA) who leads the team with 12 HR and 31 RBI. 1B Brock Holt (.333 BA) has also been red-hot, going 16-for-47 (.340) with six doubles, a homer, 6 RBI and nine runs over his past 10 games. On the other hand, OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (.200 BA) is just 6-for-33 (.182) with a double, homer, 6 RBI, four runs and nine strikeouts in his past 10 games. Cleveland’s bullpen has been very effective as well, going 12-7 with a 3.19 ERA (1.29 WHIP) and has converted 16-of-24 (67%) save chances. Both Cody Allen (2.96 ERA, 4 saves) and Bryan Shaw (2.22 ERA, 2 saves) have been seeing save chances lately and they have combined to go 6-for-9 in save opportunities this year.