The pair of division leaders are set to play in the one-game makeup from a postponed third game of a series played nearly two weeks ago could prove to be pivotal moving forward in the second half of the season.
Cleveland Indians Form
Since the third game of the series against the Boston Red Sox was rained out, the Cleveland Indians have begun to hit stride winning six out of the last 10 games include the last three straight games that came against the Tampa Bay Rays that has pushed their record to a season-high 11 games over .500 at 63-52.
They have been able to do that behind their strong pitching staff that ranks among the best in the league in several categories. They are currently fourth in ERA (3.66), second in WHIP (1.20), fourth in opponent batting average (.238), second in strikeouts (1149), and ninth in quality starts (59). Although starting pitcher Trevor Bauer’s ERA has ballooned up a bit to 4.79 this season, he has been strong as of late tallying wins in three out of his last four outings while striking out 28 batters and giving up only six runs over that span.
Keep in mind, Bauer has struggled against the Red Sox in his career holding a 12.91 ERA in three games with two starts in the regular season. He had pitched against them in the American League Division Series last year where he threw 4.2 innings in a no-decision. Their pitching has carried them over the last few weeks that includes only seven runs in the four-game series against the Rays with two of them being shutout victories. What has been most impressive about their improved play it has been done without the services of outfielder Michael Brantley, outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall and second baseman Jason Kipnis, who are all out of the lineup due to injuries.
Their offense has been led by offseason addition outfielder Edwin Encarnacion who leads the team with 24 home runs and 66 RBIs while batting .251. Meanwhile their young left side of the infield has more than held up their own this season. Third baseman Jose Ramirez is batting a team-best .310 with a career-high 18 home runs and 58 RBIs. Shortstop Francisco Lindor is hitting .268 with a career-best 19 home runs and 53 RBIs.
Boston Red Sox Form
The Red Sox have hit another gear over the last couple of weeks that began with taking the first two games of the series against the Indians to begin the month before the final game got postponed. Boston has remained white hot winning 10 out of their last 11 games. Their only loss over that span came against the New York Yankees in a game that saw them blow a 3-o lead in the bottom of the eighth inning by giving up five runs in the frame.
Like the Indians, the Red Sox have been able to lean on their pitching staff that is also ranked among the best in the league this season. They are currently third in ERA (3.64), third in strikeouts (1113), ninth in opponent batting average (.245), and second in quality starts (69). During their recent hot stretch their pitching staff has allowed three or fewer runs on eight occasions helping them sweep both the Chicago White Sox and Rays in the process.
That said, the Red Sox are set to send veteran right-hander Doug Fister to the mound on Monday night. He has struggled since joining Boston back in early July holding a 1-5 record with the team. However, his lone win came against the Indians on July 31 where he pitched 7.2 innings while giving up just two runs on five hits. Fister also followed up that start with another win as he threw 6.1 innings while giving up three runs on eight hits. He currently holds a 2-5 record with a 5.03 ERA this season. In his career against Cleveland, Fister has a 6-4 record with a 3.07 ERA in 17 career starts.
Despite Boston being a bit of a hot streak, the bookmakers currently have the Indians as the slight favorite likely due to the pitching matchup. Ladbrokes has Cleveland at 29/20 odds while the Red Sox sit at 20/33 odds for the game. Although the pitching matchup does favor the visitors, we suggest that you go with the Red Sox with 10/17 odds.