RECAP: A Pair of First Career Home Runs from Sam Travis and Tzu-Wei Lin Power #RedSox to 7-5 Win over Indians for 105th Victory of Season.

After clinching  and celebrating their third straight American League East title with an 11-6 win over the New York Yankees on Thursday night, the Red Sox headed to Cleveland looking to make more history in their last road series of the regular season against an Indians team that clinched their division weeks ago.

Making his 26th start of the season in and third since returning from the disabled list on September 11th in this series opener was Chris Sale.

Entering Friday with a lifetime 4.63 ERA in 14 career outings at Progressive Field, the left-hander’s night, although on the short side, went decently well.

Pitching into the fourth inning of this one, Sale held the Indians to two runs on five hits, one of which was a home run, and zero walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

Facing 15 total batters, the Florida native really did not run into any trouble until that bottom half of the fourth, when with one out and the bases empty, newest Indian Josh Donaldson unloaded on a 2-1 95 MPH fastball and pulled it 396 feet into the left field bleachers.

That was followed up by a Yandy Diaz single, and that is how Sale’s night would come to a conclusion, at least on the field of play.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 73 (48 strikes) the most he has thrown since returning from the DL, the 29-year-old turned to his four-seam seam fastball 25 times on the evening, and topped out at 95.7 MPH with that same pitch in the third inning.

Unable to pick up the winning decision due to the length of last night’s start, Sale will take his square 2.00 ERA into his final start of the regular season in his next time out, which will come against the Baltimore Orioles this Wednesday at night at Fenway Park. Expect the ace to ramp it up to somewhere around 85 pitches in that one.

In relief of Sale, Heath Hembree got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen with one out and one on in the fourth, and he officially closed the book on the starter’s night by serving up a two-run homer to Indians catcher Yan Gomes that gave Cleveland a 3-1 advantage.

From the middle of the fifth inning on, Bobby Poyner, Matt Barnes, Drew Pomeranz, Brandon Workman, Hector Velazquez, and Robby Scott combined to toss four innings of two-run ball to set up Craig Kimbrel for the save in the ninth.

Working for the second time in as many days with a two run lead to protect, the Red Sox closer sat down all three batters he faced to notch his 42nd save and secure his team’s 105th win of the season.

All and all, not including Sale, Alex Cora turned to EIGHT total relievers on Friday night. Matt Barnes also made his first appearance out of the bullpen in over two weeks and picked up his sixth win of the year with a scoreless sixth inning of work.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer, who was making his first start since August 11th after fracturing his right fibula.

Before we get into this, I just want you to go ahead and take a look at Friday’s lineup to get an idea of what the expectations were going into this one.

  1. Tzu-Wei Lin, CF
  2. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  3. Rafael Devers, 3B
  4. JD Martinez, DH
  5. Steve Pearce, 1B
  6. Brock Holt, SS
  7. Blake Swihart, RF
  8. Sam Travis, LF
  9. Sandy Leon, C

As you can see, not exactly what the ALDS lineup is going to look like. It makes sense given the fact most of the everyday guys were a bit hung over from the postgame festivites on Thursday to go along with an early morning flight to Cleveland.

Anyway, Bauer, like Sale, was on a pitch cap, and he only made it into the second inning before getting the hook in favor of Matt Olson, who finished the frame without surrendering a run.

That made way for RHP Shane Bieber to begin the top half of the third, and Sam Travis greeted him right away by launching his first ever big league home run to put Boston on the board first.

Fast forward to the sixth, with Bieber still on the hill for Cleveland, and Rafael Devers stayed hot by mashing a two out solo homer good for his 18th of the season to cut the Indians lead to two.

An inning later, two straight one out hits set up Sam Travis in another prime run scoring opportunity, and he delivered by drilling a two RBI double to right center that plated both Brock Holt and Blake Swihart to tie this contest up at four runs each.

A few moments later, leadoff man Tzu-Wei Lin drove in Travis, who represented the go-ahead run, on a hard hit infield single that deflected off of Bieber’s heel and could not be fielded in time. 5-4 game.

Following a Brandon Phillips single and a pitching change that saw right-hander Neil Ramirez take over for Bieber, Rafael Devers came through once again by lining a run-scoring single to left field that allowed Lin to come in from third and give his team a two-run edge.

After the Indians bounced back with a run of their own in their half of the seventh, Tzu-Wei Lin essentially put this game on ice by demolishing his first career big fly off of Dan Otero with one out in the top of the ninth.

A 396 foot shot to right field that put the Red Sox up 7-5, which would go on to be the final score in their 105th win of the season, in case you missed that the first time.

Some notes from this 7-5 win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox improve to 105-49, tying the franchise’s all-time single-season wins record (105-47 in 1912). Their magic number to clinch MLB’s best record is 1.

In the month of September, Craig Kimbrel is 5/5 in save opportunities over eight relief appearances. He has not allowed a single run to score in that span.

Rafael Devers is 6/16 (.375) in his last four games.

Dating back to September 9th, Brock Holt is slashing .455/.520/.909 with three home runs and eight RBI.

Since being recalled from Triple A Pawtucket on September 1st, Tzu-Wei Lin owns an OPS of 1.200.

Going for a record-setting 106th win later tonight, it will be Rick Porcello getting the starting nod for Boston.

Over the course of his 10-year career, Porcello has pitched at Progressive Field 12 times, where he owns a 2.84 ERA over 73 innings pitched.

Opposite Porcello will be another Indians right-hander in Mike Clevinger, who has seemingly emerged as one of the more underrated hurlers in the American League thanks to a breakout season in which he has posted a 3.06 ERA over a span of 30 starts with Cleveland.

First pitch of the middle game of the series is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Saturday. Time to make some history.

 

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RECAP: David Price Dominates Indians in Eight Scoreless Innings as #RedSox Become First Club to Reach 90 Wins.

Just a handful of hours after ending their three-game losing streak with a 10-4 win on Wednesday night, the Red Sox were back at it Thursday afternoon looking for a series split against a first place Indians team.

Making his 25th start of the season and coming off seven two-run innings in his last time out against the Tampa Bay Rays, David Price entered the day with a lifetime 2.24 ERA in 14 career starts against the Indians. That trend continued this afternoon.

Pitching eight full frames in this one, the left-hander held Cleveland scoreless while scattering just three hits and one HBP to go along with zero walks and seven punch outs on the afternoon.

Starting his outing by retiring 18 of the first 19 batters he faced, the most trouble Price ran into came in the top half of the seventh, when he gave up a pair of singles but escaped without any damage thanks to an inning-ending unassisted double play.

In his final frame of work, the Tennessee native hit the first batter he faced in Brandon Guyer, but ended up facing the minimum thanks to another DP and six pitch strikeout of Roberto Perez to retire the side and end his day on a high note.

 

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (68 strikes), Price turned to his two-seam fastball 33 times and topped out at 94.9 MPH with the same pitch in the first inning.

As he later improved to 14-6 with yet another dominant performance, let’s take a look at how the 32-year-old hurler has been performing since the All-Star break.

6 GS, 4-0, 41.1 IP, 29 H, 5 ER, 7 BB, 40 K, 1.09 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, .193 BAA.

Ace-like stuff. Price will look to build on this recent stretch run of dominance in his next time out, which should more than likely come against the Miami Marlins next Wednesday.

In relief of Price, Tyler Thornburg was the lone reliever who got the call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the ninth and final frame. Despite giving up two hits, Thornburg managed to hold on and preserve the shutout to secure his team’s 90th win of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a pitcher they had never seen before in RHP Adam Plutko for Cleveland.

Plutko, a 26-year-old rookie, managed to manuever his away around Boston’s lineup through the first four innings on Thursday, but the fifth is where this game really turned on its head.

Starting with leadoff hits from Sandy Leon, whose double could not be caught by Melky Cabrera in left field, and Jackie Bradley Jr., followed by a one out walk of Andrew Benintendi, the bases were all of a sudden loaded for Blake Swihart, who was not even in the original starting lineup.

On a 2-2 fastball from Plutko, Swihart ripped a double to the wall in right field to plate Leon and Bradley and give the Red Sox a two-run advantage.

After intentionally walking JD Martinez to reload the bases, new Indians pitcher Adam Cimber could not sneak a 2-1 sinker by Xander Bogaerts, as the red-hot shortstop drove in another pair of runs on a two RBI single to left field.

Another intentional walk, this time of Brock Holt, once again reloaded the bases for Eduardo Nunez, who capitalized on a run-scoring opportunity and ripped the THIRD two RBI two-bagger of the inning to score both Martinez and Bogaerts and make it a 6-0 game just like that.

An inning later, JD Martinez wrapped up his team’s scoring by racking up his 109th RBI of the year on a one out single off of Indians reliever Josh Tomlin that drove in Mookie Betts from third. 7-0, which would end up being the final score on Thursday.

In the matter of one day, the Red Sox have turned a three-game losing streak that had everyone panicking into a brand new two-game winning streak. With the split against the Indians today, the team has now not lost a series since the first day of July. That is some impressive stuff.

Some other notes from this win:

Mitch Moreland, who was originally the starting first baseman in this contest, had to depart in the first inning after suffering a left knee contusion while sliding for a foul ball near the Red Sox dugout.

On a more positive note, to go along with those David Price numbers up above, the Red Sox are 8-0 in Price’s last eight starts and are 19-6 overall.

Xander Bogaerts has recorded at least one hit in eight of his last 10 games. Over that span, he is slashing .316/.366/.658 with two home runs and 10 RBI.

Over their last four games, Red Sox pitching held Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez to five total hits in 33 combined at bats. Only two of those hits went for extra bases.

Finishing the brief homestand with a 4-3 record, the Red Sox head south for a quick three-game weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Starters for the three-game set are as followed: Hector Velazquez, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi. The Rays have yet to announce their starters.

Head to head, Boston has had the advantage against Tampa Bay this season, as they own a 11-5 record against them going into their final matchup of 2018.

First pitch of the first game of Players’ Weekend is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Friday.

RECAP: Xander Bogaerts Homers Twice as #RedSox Halt Losing Streak at Three in 10-4 Win over Indians.

Everybody, take a deep breath and relax, the three-game losing streak the Red Sox had is over. Let’s get into how they got it done.

Looking to avoid their first four-game losing streak since last season, the Red Sox turned to Brian Johnson against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.

Making his 10th start of the season and first ever against the Indians in his three-year career, Johnson had himself a so-so evening on the mound.

Pitching into the fifth inning of this one, the left-hander surrendered three earned runs on five hits, one walk, and one HBP to go along with three punch outs.

In those near five-frames of work, Johnson was greeted right away by the top of the Indians lineup in a not so pleasant manner, as Francisco Lindor ripped a leadoff double in the top half of the first, which was followed up by a two-run home run off the bat of the just-activated Edwin Encarnacion, who has a history of dominating at Fenway Park, to make it a 2-0 game early.

Fortunately, the Florida native settled down a bit and held the Tribe scoreless up until the fifth inning, when six of the first eight pitches he threw went for balls against Lindor and Michael Brantley.

With one out and Lindor at first, Johnson’s night would come to a rather short conclusion just 82 pitches into his outing.

Out of those 82 pitches (51 strikes), the 27-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball, a pitch he topped out at 92.7 MPH with, 37 times on the night. And that resulted in five total swinging strikes.

Unable to pick up the winning decision because of the length of his start, Johnson will look build on this outing in his next time out, which should come against the Miami Marlins sometime next week.

In relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen had another decently long night ahead, and Heath Hembree was the one to get the first call.

Able to get out of the fifth, but not before serving up another two-run dinger to Edwin Encarnacion to both close the book on Johnson’s night and cut his team’s lead down to two runs, Hembree struck out the final batter he faced in Yandy Diaz to retire the side.

From that point forward, Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, who picked up the win, Joe Kelly, and Ryan Brasier held down the fort while the Red Sox extended their lead in a combined effort that consisted of four scoreless frames to wrap up the team’s 89th win of the year.

Shoutout to Jackie Bradley Jr. for this fine outfield assist in the sixth that nabbed Yan Gomes trying to turn a single into a double as well.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who entered Wednesday with a 7.07 ERA in four career appearances at Fenway Park. Those struggles continued once again last night.

Starting right away in the first, minutes after the Tribe had jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, JD Martinez cut that in half by driving in his 107th run of the season on a two out RBI single that plated Andrew Benintendi from third.

Fast forward to the fourth, and in what turned out to be a five-run inning, it was a Xander Bogaerts one out solo home run that got the rally started.

Eventually chasing Carrasco out of this game in the same inning, additional RBI knocks from the likes of Blake Swihart and Andrew Benintendi, who cleared the bases on a two out three RBI double, mixed in with three more hits and two walks, saw Boston go from trailing to jumping out to a 6-2 advantage in a matter of minutes.

Two innings later, after the Indians had made things interesting again thanks to Encarnacion’s second home run, Mitch Moreland essentially put this game to bed by mashing a two-run homer off of Dan Otero in the sixth.

A two-run shot that scored Jackie Bradley Jr. from third along with Moreland, was good for the first baseman’s 15th big fly of the season.

In the seventh, Bogaerts struck again by blasting his second homer of the evening to leadoff the inning against Otero.

That home run, Bogaerts’ 19th of the year, upped the Aruba native’s RBI total to 80.

Finally, after failing to get to Indians closer Cody Allen on Monday, JD Martinez put the final nail in the coffin of this one in the eighth with an RBI single, his 108th, to score Jackie Bradley Jr. from second and plate Boston’s 10th and final run of the night.

And there you have it, the three-game losing streak is over. Back to 50 games over .500.

Some notes from this win:

Per @Indians, Edwin Encarnacion’s last three games at Fenway Park: .500 BA (6-12), 5 HR, 10 RBI. Preposterous numbers.

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox remain the only team without a losing streak of 4+ games this season.

Xander Bogaerts’ last multi-homer game took place on June 18th, 2017 against the Houston Astros.

Going for the series-split later this afternoon, it will be David Price getting the ball for the Red Sox.

Owning a solid 2.24 ERA in 14 career starts against the Indians, Price has been on fire since the All-Star break.

Over his last five outings, the left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and .210 BAA in 33.1 innings pitched.

Opposite Price will be another rookie starter for Cleveland in RHP Adam Plutko, who has never faced the Red Sox nor pitched at Fenway Park in his young career.

On the season as a whole, Plutko, 26, owns a 4.62 over ten games, seven of which were starts.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET Thursday.

RECAP: Nathan Eovaldi Gets Hit Hard as #RedSox Drop Third Straight for First Time since April.

For the first time since April, the Red Sox have lost three consecutive games. Everybody panic!

Yes, the team with the best record in all of baseball has hit a bit of a skid recently, so let’s get right into where things went wrong on Tuesday night.

Making his fifth start with the Red Sox, Nathan Eovaldi entered the night with a 0.00 ERA in 15 innings pitched at Fenway Park this season.

Pitching into the sixth inning of this one, the right-hander seemingly breezed through the first three frames of this one, but the fourth was where things turned out for the worst.

All coming with two outs, the Indians reached base four straight times off of Eovaldi on three singles and a double, which plated their first two runs of the evening.

After working his way around a leadoff double in a scoreless fifth, Cleveland struck again right away in the sixth on a solo home run off the bat of Melky Cabrera, his second in as many nights.

One out and two straight singles from Yan Gomes and Greg Allen singles later, Eovaldi’s night would come to a disappointing end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (63 strikes), the Texas native surrendered ten hits for the second time in his last three outings to tie a season-high. He also walked one and only recorded two strikeouts.

Out of those 87 pitches, Eovaldi relied on his fastball, both cut and four-seam, a combined 69% of the time on Tuesday while topping out at 100.1 MPH with that four-seamer in the first inning.

Since he got his Red Sox career off to a blazing start with those two stellar outings against the Twins and Yankees in late July and early August, Eovaldi has certainly come back to earth over the past two weeks. It will be interesting to see how he responds in his next time out against his old team this weekend in St. Petersburg.

In relief of Eovaldi, Joe Kelly entered the sixth with runners on first and second and closed the book on the 28-year-old’s night by giving up an RBI single to Michael Brantley that could have been a double had Sandy Leon not thrown him out at second to end the inning.

From that point on, Brandon Workman gave up a run on a sacrifice fly in the eighth and Tyler Thornburg, albeit it came on a quality pitch, served up a solo home run to Indians catcher Yan Gomes, minutes after the Red Sox had scored three runs of their own, to make it a 6-3 game heading into the bottom of the eighth.

Finally, despite walking one and giving up one base hit, Drew Pomeranz had himslef a scoreless ninth inning to give his team one last chance to rally in the bottom half of the frame, although it did not amount to much.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a starter they had never seen before in Cleveland’s Shane Bieber.

Bieber, 23 and a right-hander, is in his first season with the Indians and as you may have already guessed, had never pitched at Fenway Park before last night.

Despite that fact though, the former fourth round pick out of UC Santa Barbara had his way with Boston through the first six innings of this one.

In fact, it wasn’t until the fourth inning when Andrew Benintendi ripped a one out single to break up the no-hitter Bieber had going.

Fast forward to the seventh, with no outs and runners at first and third, Xander Bogaerts came through with an RBI double down the line in left to cut into the Indians lead and put his team’s first run of the night on the board.

One batter later, a Mitch Moreland sacrifice fly that could have been so much more had it not been for this great catch by Greg Allen drove in JD Martinez from third to cut Boston’s deficit to three.

That would be how Bieber’s night would come to a conclusion, but the Red Sox were not done scoring. Not until Xander Bogaerts came into score on a Ian Kinsler RBI groundout, anyway.

With the score of this one at 5-3 going into the eighth, it’s probably worth mentioning that the aforementioned home run from Yan Gomes off of Tyler Thornburg may have been the final nail in the coffin, as it upped the Indians lead back to three.

Anyway, old friend Andrew Miller sat down all three batters he faced in order in the eighth, and ex-Padres closer Brad Hand maneuvered his way around an E4 to notch his 29th save of the season in the ninth and final frame.

Some notes from this 6-3 loss:

Over the span of this three-game losing streak, the Red Sox have scored seven total runs. That is not ideal. All while the Yankees have won their last four games, also not ideal.

That Mitch Moreland sacrifice fly had a hit probability of 91%. According to Statcast, it was the only batted ball that had a hit probability north of 90%, yet it was caught.

I must admit, losing two straight games to one of the better teams in the American League is far from encouraging, but the Red Sox have been here before. Go back to that four-game series against the Astros in Houston back in June.

They dropped the first two games while not looking all that great, yet they bounced back and left with a series split that Sunday night. That’s what needs to happen now over these next two days.

Brian Johnson gets the nod in the third game of the series with Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco toeing the rubber opposite him.

While Johnson has never faced off against Cleveland in his young career, Carrasco has had his fair share of difficulties in his matchups against the Red Sox.

Over a span of seven career appearances (five starts) against Boston, the Venezuela native owns a 6.83 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in 27.2 innings pitched, 14 of which of come at Fenway Park.

First pitch of the third game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Wednesday. Time to put this losing streak to a halt.

 

 

 

RECAP: Rick Porcello Serves up Five Runs on Three Homers as #RedSox Drop Opener to Indians.

After taking two out of three from the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, the Red Sox welcomed the American League Central leading Cleveland Indians into town for a four-game series between two teams vying for an AL pennant.

In the series opener, it was a starting pitching matchup that featured two decorated right-handers in Corey Kluber, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, for Cleveland and Rick Porcello, who received the same honor in 2016, for Boston.

Porcello, coming off a fine effort in his last time out against the Phillies and making the 300th start of this career, took the mound for the 26th time this season, and he was struck hard by the home run ball.

Tossing seven full innings in this one, all five runs surrendered by the righty came on three separate Indians home runs, all of which came after the fourth.

Through the first four frames, Porcello was nearly untouchable, as he sat down 12 of the first 14 batters he faced while his team jumped out to an early three-run advantage.

The fifth inning though, is where things started to go awry for the New Jersey native and it began with a leadoff home run off the bat of veteran outfielder Melky Cabrera, who is in his second stint with the Indians this season.

After retiring the next three batters he faced, a Francisco Lindor single to begin the sixth would later turn into another pair of runs for Cleveland two pitches later when Michael Brantley, another outfielder, punished a 1-0 slider for his 14th homer of the season. And just like that, this game was momentarily tied.

Momentarily, because an inning later, with his pitch count inching closer and closer to 100, Porcello gave up another two-run shot, but not before taking a Yan Gomes comebacker that had an exit velocity of 95.2 MPH off his chest.

I’m not going to sit here and say that Porcello should have come out after that, because he was able to recover and get an out at second, but what transpired after he was left in was not all that encouraging.

Yes, that two-run home run off the bat of Indians rookie Greg Allen put Cleveland up 5-3, which is all they would need to pick up the win. Porcello did stay in to finish the seventh, which is how his night would come to an end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 107 (74 strikes), the New Jersey native ended up with six strikeouts on the night to go along with one walk and a season-high three home runs given up in this one.

Out of those 107 pitches, Porcello turned to his fastball, two-seam and four-seam, a combined 49% of the time on Monday and topped out at 94 MPH with that four-seamer in the second inning.

In four starts this month, we have truly seen the highs and the lows of what is Rick Porcello.

8/3 vs. NYY: 9 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 9 K
8/9 @ TOR: 4 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 2 HR, 0 BB, 5 K
8/14 @PHI: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 10 K
8/20 vs. CLE: 7 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 1 BB, 6 K

He’ll look to return to that same form he had against the Yankees and Phillies in his next time out, which should come against the Tampa Bay Rays sometime next weekend.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the eighth and ninth innings of last night’s contest, and Tyler Thornburg and Drew Pomeranz did their jobs by holding the Indians scoreless with two combined strikeouts in that span.

On the other side of things, matched up against one of the best pitchers in all of baseball in Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and all, the Red Sox lineup pounced early but did not have much to show for the remainder of the evening.

Entering Monday with a 3.96 ERA in four career at starts at Fenway Park, Kluber certainly had his fair share of struggles early, but like the ace he is, settled down eventually.

Starting the scoring right away in the first, three straight hits from Mitch Moreland, JD Martinez, and a two RBI double off the bat of Xander Bogaerts plated Boston’s first two runs.

An inning later, another round of three straight hits, this time from Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and an Andrew Benintendi RBI single, his 71st of the season, tacked on another run to that Red Sox lead to make it a 3-0 game, but that is all they would end up with off of Kluber going into the seventh.

Fast forward to the ninth, trailing by two runs with Indians closer Cody Allen on the mound, a Mookie Betts leadoff double followed by a seven pitch walk of Andrew Benintendi put the Red Sox in a prime spot for a comeback win.

After Mitch Moreland grounded into a force out and JD Martinez popped out to first, it all came down to Xander Bogaerts, who scored Betts from third on an infield single to make it a one-run contest.

With the tying run at second and the go-ahead run at first, Ian Kinsler came to the plate with the opportunity to have his first big moment in a Red Sox uniform, but he could only drop his bat in disgust after flying out to left on the eighth pitch of a tough at bat for the final out of the night.

Some notes from this one:

The Red Sox have lost consecutive games for the first time since July 24-26. They have scored five runs in their last 26 innings.

In the month of August, Xander Bogaerts is slashing .326/.458/.543 with one home run and 12 RBI over 15 games played.

Looking to even things up later tonight, it will be Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston. He owns a career 2.70 ERA in 16.2 career innings pitched against the Indians.

Matched up against Eovaldi will be rookie hurler RHP Shane Bieber for Cleveland. Bieber, 23, as you may have guessed, has never faced the Red Sox in his short career, but does own a 4.37 ERA in 12 games started in his first big league season.

First pitch of the second game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Tuesday.

I Don’t Like This Proposed Jackie Bradley Jr. for Edwin Encarnacion Trade.

Earlier today, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox have had trade discussions over the winter revolving around outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and designated hitter/ first baseman Edwin Encarnacion. Nightengale did not go into depth on this, but it’s still something to think about. When I first saw this, I immediately was against it. If these two were the only big league players involved, it’s tough to say who wins this trade. On one hand, the Indians are losing their best power hitter, as Encarnacion lead the club in HRs, RBIs, and OBP in 2017. On the other hand, they are getting one of the best defensive center fielders in all of baseball. The Indians lost Austin Jackson to free agency, so it’s understandable why they would want to upgrade at that position. Is that defense worth parting ways with one of the best home run hitters in the American League? Probably not.

From the perspective of the Red Sox, acquiring Encarnacion while parting ways with Bradley creates holes and log jams. If this were to happen, I would need to see some corresponding moves and those moves would revolve around Hanley Ramirez and JD Martinez. First, I can’t imagine Hanley Ramirez would stick around if Encarnacion were acquired, he’s essentially an upgrade. Take Hanley away and replace him with EE, and you’re looking at him as the primary DH and Mitch Moreland as the primary first baseman. With that in mind, a hole is created in center field. Sure, Benintendi or Betts could be moved over there, but there is no other player on the Red Sox 40-man who could play a corner outfield position everyday. Brock Holt, Bryce Brentz, and Rusney Castillo all have positive qualities, but I would not want any of those guys handling a full-time position with the Red Sox. That’s why, ideally, JD Martinez would be brought in via free agency to take over for Benintendi in left field. Although his defense is lacking, Martinez and Encarnacion would be one hell of a power duo.

This is the ideal situation. A “big three” of Betts, Martinez, and Encarnacion would be awesome, but it could have happened sooner, and at a lesser cost. Remember, there was interest between Edwin Encarnacion and the Red Sox last year, but nothing transpired because of luxury tax complications. Now, we’re talking about giving up one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball for a 35 year-old Encarnacion, who will be making much more than JBJ will over the next two years both are under contract. If it were me, and Martinez was not signed yet, I don’t think I would do it. Give me the bargain in Bradley and let me try to plug power into my lineup through other avenues.

RECAP: Chris Sale gets rocked as #RedSox drop finale to Indians 13-6.

Even after last night’s loss, the Red Sox still won the season series against the Cleveland Indians. There were a couple nice wins in there, like the Christian Vazquez walk off and the win against Corey Kluber on Wednesday. Unfortunately though, two of those three losses against the Indians came with Chris Sale as the starting pitcher. Throughout his career, the Indians have been the team that has given Sale the most trouble, and that was proven yet again on Thursday night. The lefty could only make it through three full innings before being lifted. The Indians scored a season-high seven runs (six earned) off of Sale in those three innings. In his shortest start of 2017, Sale did not look like himself and may have improved Corey Kluber’s case for the Cy Young Award. I don’t know if the Indians have some exclusive information on Sale, but they seem to have his number. Another concerning statistic is the fact that Sale is known to sort of give out as the season progresses into the later months of August, September, October. I’m not going to say I;m worried about Chris Sale, but it’s something to pay attention to.

In relief of Sale, the Red Sox bullpen did not do much to keep the lineup in the game. Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman, Blaine Boyer, and Fernando Abad combined to pitch five innings while allowing six runs on eleven hits. Abad, who has only pitched four times this month, and he was the only pitcher to not allow an earned run. So, not the best series for the ‘pen in Cleveland, a place they’re probably going to have to visit in the postseason.

On the other side of things, Mitch Moreland carried the offense. After the Indians took a 4-0 lead into the third, Moreland responded by launching his first of two home runs on the day. The Indians tacked on another three runs in their half of the third, but the Red Sox responded again. A Mookie Betts leadoff double and a Rafael Devers walk led to Xander Bogaerts driving in both on an RBI triple. Next batter up, Mitch Moreland, drove in his second RBI of the game on an RBI single, making it a 7-4 game. That would be the only real offense until the eighth, where the Indians extended the lead to 13-4. In that inning, Mitch Moreland blasted another home run, his second of the day and seventeenth of the season.

We also got to see Rajai Davis make his Red Sox debut last night. Mookie Betts had to leave the game with a right knee contusion after slamming his knee into the right field wall while trying to make a catch in the seventh. It was cool to see Davis get a standing ovation from the Cleveland crowd for his efforts in the postseason last year.

A series split isn’t the worst thing, and now the Red Sox will look to take care of the Orioles back at Fenway starting tonight. Rick Porcello makes the start in this one to kick off Player’s Weekend.

73 down, ? to go.