Indians Change Their Sox for a Big Battle in Boston
Bob Toth | On 31, Jul 2017
While both the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox could have been big buyers at Monday afternoon’s trade deadline, each club made just minor tweaks to its roster as the league prepares for the final two months of the regular season schedule. Both very much in contention, the two teams will play each other this week for the first time since the Indians swept the Red Sox in the American League Division Series last October.
The Indians (57-46) have turned around what looked like a frightening start to the second half of their season after opening 1-5 against two of the worst teams in baseball in the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants on a west coast road trip. Since then, they rattled off nine straight wins, including sweeping a perfect seven-game homestand, before they were finally slowed down by the Chicago White Sox, 3-1, on a walk-off homer on Sunday afternoon.
The Red Sox (57-49) lost the bookends of their series over the weekend with the Kansas City Royals. They have struggled of late, losing their hold on the top spot in the American League East to the New York Yankees, who have a half-game lead over their rivals in the division. They are just 12-14 in the month of July (despite outscoring their opposition, 116-99) and are 7-10 since the All-Star break. The Indians are the only AL Central team that the Red Sox had not faced this season – they are 12-11 against the rest of the division.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Clevinger is coming off of his shortest start in five weeks and his worst of the season. He allowed six runs (five earned) on nine hits with two homers and two walks allowed in four and one-third innings against the team that drafted him, the Los Angeles Angels, in a game that the Indians would hit two grand slams and claim a walk-off win. Clevinger had thrown four straight quality starts prior to that outing this season and, despite the rough outing, still has a 2.42 ERA and .205 batting average against in the month of July. It will be his first career start against Boston.
Fister was a late arrival to the Red Sox roster this season after a brief stint in the minors for the Los Angeles Angels. He has worked three times in relief and four times in a starting role for the Red Sox since signing as a free agent following his release by the Angels, but has struggled to put up the kind of numbers that he had earlier in his career. He has a 5-4 career record against Cleveland with a 3.13 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP, with much of those results coming from earlier in his career during his time with the Detroit Tigers.
It will be a pitching matchup to watch on Tuesday as Carrasco and Sale face off in a familiar AL Central style rematch. In his last start, Carrasco gave the Indians another good effort on the mound but took a no-decision against the Angels in a game the team would go on to win, 10-4. He worked into the seventh inning, logging six and one-third innings of work while allowing two runs on six hits with five strikeouts. Four of his five starts in July were quality efforts. He is 1-1 in his career against the Red Sox in five games (three starts) with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP.
Sale is the early favorite in the Cy Young voting for the year behind an incredible start in his first season with the Red Sox. Since giving up a two-run homer to Wilson Ramos in the sixth inning of a game in Tampa on July 6, Sale has worked 22 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. He has struck out no fewer than six batters in any one start and in two-thirds of his outings, he has struck out at least ten batters (14 times in total). He was 3-1 in July with a 1.04 ERA and a .167 batting average against, striking out 56 batters in 34 2/3 innings (a rate of 14.54 per nine innings). He is 5-7 in 27 career appearances against the Indians with a 4.07 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. He was 1-1 against them last season with a 7.84 ERA.
Bauer was fantastic his last time out in arguably his best outing of the season. He gave the Indians eight innings on the mound and allowed just one run on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts in a 2-1 win over the Angels. The pressure is on the Indians rotation as the six-man staff will likely be pared down in the near future, but Bauer stood up to the pressure to maintain his spot for the time being. He has had little luck with the Red Sox in his career, posting an 0-2 record with a 12.91 ERA and a 2.61 WHIP in three career appearances (two starts).
The 28-year-old Porcello, the American League’s reigning Cy Young winner, has had an abysmal season for the Sox. He has lost five consecutive decisions and, since May 28 (a span of a dozen starts), he has gone 1-9 with a 4.71 ERA while allowing opposing batters to hit .287 against him. While he has lost four straight starts, he had a pair of tough luck complete game losses in that stretch, giving up just a run in defeat to Tampa on July 8 and three runs in eight innings in a loss in Los Angeles to the Angels on July 23. His last time out, he allowed four runs on six hits over seven innings, but fell to the Kansas City Royals.
TV – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); ESPN (7/31); MLB Network (8/1 – out of market); NESN (all)
Radio (all) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; WEEI 93.7, WCEC 1490 AM/ 103.7FM (Boston)
Cody Anderson (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/2) – right elbow surgery
Lonnie Chisenhall (RF) – 10-day disabled list (7/9) – right calf strain
Perci Garner (RP) – designated for assignment (7/31)
Jason Kipnis (2B) – 10-day disabled list (7/9) – right hamstring strain
Boone Logan (RP) – 60-day disabled list (7/20) – left lat muscle
Tyler Olson (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (7/31)
Thomas Pannone (MiLB SP) – traded to Toronto (7/31)
Joe Smith (RP) – acquired in trade from Toronto (7/31)
Samad Taylor (MiLB 2B) – traded to Toronto (7/31)
Josh Tomlin (SP) – 10-day disabled list (7/31) – right hamstring
Roenis Elias (P) – 60-day disabled list (4/1) – right intercostal, oblique, left lat strains; on rehab assignment
Marco Hernandez (2B) – 60-day disabled list (5/4) – recovery from May 2017 left shoulder surgery
Joe Kelly (RP) – 10-day disabled list (7/12) – right hamstring strain
Austin Maddox (P) – recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket (7/31)
Dustin Pedroia (2B) – day-to-day – left knee soreness; not in lineup 7/31
David Price (SP) – 10-day disabled list (7/25) – left elbow inflammation
Addison Reed (RP) – acquired from New York Mets (7/31)
Robbie Ross (RP) – 60-day disabled list (5/19) – left elbow inflammation
Josh Rutledge (3B) – 60-day disabled list (6/24) – concussion
Robby Scott (P) – optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket (7/31)
Carson Smith (RP) – 60-day disabled list (4/1) – recovery from May 2016 Tommy John surgery
Ben Taylor (P) – 10-day disabled list (7/23) – left intercostal strain
Tyler Thornburg (RP) – 60-day disabled list (4/1) – recovery from June 2017 rib surgery
Steven Wright (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/30) – recovery from May 2017 left knee surgery
Luis Ysla (P) – traded to Los Angeles Dodgers (7/29)
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
DEALING AT THE DEADLINE
Prior to the deadline, both the Indians and Red Sox were active in upgrading their bullpens.
The Indians re-acquired right-handed reliever Joe Smith from the Toronto Blue Jays for a pair of minor leaguers, 23-year-old left-handed starting pitcher Thomas Pannone and 19-year-old second baseman Samad Taylor. The Indians designated minor league right-hander Perci Garner for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Smith.
The Red Sox added a face very familiar to the Indians in recent years, picking up right-handed reliever Addison Reed from the New York Mets for three pitching prospects – right-handers Gerson Bautista, Jamie Callahan, and Stephen Nogosek.
Reed, who had been working as the Mets’ closer for much of this season, will work in a setup capacity to All-Star Craig Kimbrel.
SOX BY THE NUMBERS
Pedroia will miss at least the beginning of the series opener between the Indians and the Red Sox with a knee injury. He is hitting .322 since the All-Star break and .307 on the year in 85 games. He is 4-for-9 with a double against Carrasco, but will need to return to the field on Tuesday in order to face him.
Clevinger has faced just two members of the Red Sox – the recently acquired Eduardo Nunez (1-for-3 with a single) and Mitch Moreland (0-for-1 with a strikeout). Nunez has five hits in 12 at bats in three games since joining the Red Sox, including two homers.
Hanley Ramirez has four hits (including two doubles) and has driven in three in seven plate appearances against Bauer. He is hitting .234 in 16 games since the All-Star break, but does have four home runs in that stretch.
Brock Holt has two hits, including a homer and two RBI, in three plate appearances against Carrasco. He is 3-for-5 against Bauer with a triple and an RBI.
Moreland is 4-for-10 with a pair of homers, a double, and six runs batted in against Carrasco. He is 0-for-6 against Bauer with a strikeout.
Jackie Bradley Jr is 0-for-4 against Carrasco with three strikeouts. He has a hit and two walks in five trips against Bauer. He is hitting just .217 since the break and has struck out 22 times in 69 at bats over his last 17 games.
Mookie Betts has struck out in one of his three trips against Carrasco. He has three extra base hits against Bauer in his career, including two doubles and a homer. He is the team leader in doubles (31) and RBI (63) and is tied with Ramirez for the homer lead with 17.
INDIANS IN DEPTH
All eight Indians on the roster to have faced Fister before have notched at least one hit off of him.
Michael Brantley has one of the larger bodies of work against Fister and plenty of success to show for it. He has hit .367 (11-for-30) with three doubles, two homers, and five RBI. Francisco Lindor is 2-for-5 and has been hit by a pitch.
Ten of the 12 offensive players on the roster for the Indians have gotten hits against Sale with a wide range of success.
Lindor is 8-for-16 (.500) against him with a double, a homer, and two RBI. Edwin Encarnacion is 5-for-13 (.385) with a homer, three walks, and two RBI. Jose Ramirez is a .357 hitter (5-for-14) with four walks for a .474 on-base percentage off of Sale. Santana is a .300 hitter with a .378 OBP lifetime with a double, a homer, and nine RBI against the southpaw.
Brandon Guyer is just 1-for-7 with three strikeouts against Sale, but has been plunked by two pitches. Jackson has just two hits in 35 plate appearances (.061) against the veteran lefty with 15 strikeouts.
Santana and Encarnacion have each taken Porcello deep three times in their careers. Encarnacion has hit .325 with five doubles and ten RBI in the process. Santana has two doubles and four RBI against him. Yan Gomes has hit .385 against him (5-for-13) with a pair of doubles.
Encarnacion is hitting just .212 since the break, but has has drawn four more walks (15) than he has hits (11) to give him a far more respectable .388 on-base percentage.
Jackson has ten hits in 20 at bats since returning from the disabled list and has added in four walks (.500 average, .583 on-base percentage).
Lindor is hitting .369 with a .431 on-base percentage since the All-Star break. He has a team-high 24 hits in that span, including four doubles and two home runs.
Santana is the club’s second half leader in homers with four. Brantley and Encarnacion are right on his tail with three each. The latter is the team’s leader for the season with 21, followed by Ramirez with 18 and Lindor with 16.
Brantley and Encarnacion both have driven in 12 runs since the break. Encarnacion is the team leader with 60, followed by Ramirez and Santana, who are tied with 55.
After wrapping up the series finale from Beantown on Wednesday night, the Indians will stay within the American League East, but will return home for a four-game series with the New York Yankees over the weekend beginning Thursday night. The Red Sox will stay at home at Fenway Park to host the Chicago White Sox for four games, also beginning Thursday evening.
Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images