Surging Red Sox come to Cleveland for Pivotal Four Games
Steve Eby | On 03, Jan 2014
July 30, 1948
In a pennant chase, every game and series seems to be more important than the last. For the Cleveland Indians, the four-game set that brings the Boston Red Sox to the Stadium is the biggest series of the season thus far.
The Red Sox come in red hot, fresh off of an 8-1 beatdown of the Detroit Tigers and winners of 16 of their last 18 ballgames. The BoSox have battled back from being 11.5 games back on May 30 to take the lead in the American League standings; 0.5 games ahead of second place Philadelphia. The Indians, meanwhile, are just as cold as Boston is hot, as they have dropped six of their last eight to lose their spot in the catbird seat.
The series will be an important one for both ball clubs, as the Indians can put themselves right back in the thick of things with a series win. The Red Sox are looking for just the opposite, hoping to bury the talented Indians in the standings. The Indians are expecting around 180,000 people to attend the four game set.
Game one of the series will be Friday night, as the Indians will throw rookie lefthander Gene Bearden (8-3, 2.60) against Boston’s Mel Parnell (7-5, 2.99). The start for Bearden will be his first since July 18, as player/manager Lou Boudreau has questionably flip-flopped one of his most consistent pitchers between the bullpen and rotation. Bearden has made relief appearances in four of his 17 appearances, including the last three.
The second game of the series will feature the Indians struggling ace, Bob Feller (10-12, 4.19, 2 saves) against All-Star and former Indian Joe Dobson. Feller had dropped three straight decisions prior to winning his last start against Philadelphia. Dobson, nicknamed Burrhead for his wavy hair, made 10 starts and 65 relief appearances for the Indians from 1939 to 1940. The Indians traded the right hander to the Red Sox after the ’40 campaign in the Jim Bagby deal.
On Sunday, the teams will match up twice for some doubleheader action. Cleveland All-Star Bob Lemon (13-9, 2.82, 1 save) will match up with Ellis Kinder (5-5, 3.95) in game one. Lemon has not won a game since his start July 11 against St. Louis.
Game two will pit the Indians trade deadline acquisition Sam Zoldak (5-7, 4.07) against Mickey Harris (3-7, 6.59). Zoldak will be making his second straight start after three straight out of the bullpen. In nine games with the Indians, Zoldak has made five starts, compiling a 3-3 record with a 3.32 ERA. Despite his poor numbers, Harris has been hot of late, winning his last two decisions after dropping seven in a row.
The important series could be even tougher than they had thought as well because the surging Red Sox have just been boosted by the return of their best player, former MVP Ted Williams. The Splendid Splinter returned to the lineup on Thursday, having missed nearly a week since the Indians hit him on the wrist with a pitch last weekend.