The Boston Red Sox are beginning to look like a force to be reckoned with.
The Sox improved to 23-14 in the second half after their 6-1 win Wednesday over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Boston now is 4-2 against the Indians this season with Chris Sale taking the mound for the teams’ final regular-season game Thursday.
As it stands right now, the Red Sox and Indians would meet in a rematch of last year’s American League Division Series, and Boston looks like it’s out to prove last year’s result won’t repeat itself.
The Red Sox now have held the Indians to three or fewer hits in back-to-back games, and have allowed four hits in their last 18 innings. And that is part of a larger trend for Boston, as its pitching staff has been dominant since the Major League Baseball All-Star break.
In the 37 games since the Midsummer Classic, the Sox have a team ERA of 3.29, with only Joe Kelly (9.64), Addison Reed (5.63), Eduardo Rodriguez (4.78) and Doug Fister (4.26) sporting second-half ERA’s over four. And Fister and Rodriguez both are trending upward, as Fister tossed a complete-game one-hitter Tuesday, and Rodriguez was one pitch away from a scoreless start Monday.
As for the potential playoff matchup against Cleveland, Red Sox pitchers have had moderate success against The Tribe this season, as the team sports a 4.70 ERA in six games, but the bulk of that can be contributed to the Indians’ 10-run outburst against Sale and Craig Kimbrel on Aug. 1.
In fact, aside from the two All-Stars, only Matt Barnes and Reed have ERA’s above five against Cleveland this season, and we are willing to guess Sale’s will drop Wednesday night.
If this four-game series has indeed been an ALDS preview, the Red Sox’s pitching staff has shown it can handle the high-powered Indians.
Here are more notes from Red Sox vs. Indians.
— Bryce Brentz hit his 30th home run of the minor-league season Wednesday.
— The Red Sox acquired Rajai Davis from the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday. Davis will help fill-in for the injured Jackie Bradley Jr., who went on the 10-day disabled list with a thumb injury.
— Boston will activate Davis and Blaine Boyer on Thursday, meaning that Deven Marrero and Hector Velazquez will be optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, according to MassLive’s Christopher Smith.
Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images
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