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Boston Red Sox vs Cleveland Indians Lineups, preview and prediction (8/21)

These two teams will face off this week to defend their division leads. Is one of them at risk of slipping in the playoff race?

Boston just completed a three-game series against the Yankees in which they took two games out of three. They went into the weekend with a four-game lead over New York in the AL East division and left Fenway on Sunday five games up. They’ll hope to add onto this lead against Cleveland.

The Indians have gone 8-2 in their last ten games and took two games out of three in a weekend series against the Royals. In their last ten games, Cleveland’s pitching has been unbelievable, allowing just 2.2 runs per game. Meanwhile, their offense has been on a tear, averaging 5.7 runs per game during the same ten game span. Like Boston, they hold a five-game lead in their division and will hope to maintain, if not gain ground in the upcoming week. 

Game 1 Starters – Eduardo Rodriguez (LHP) vs Mike Clevinger (RHP)

Rodriguez has been fairly solid for the Sox sporting a 3.97 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, and a career-best 9.87 K/9. After a rough July in which he allowed 11 runs in 14.2 innings, he has bounced back this month. In three August starts the lefty has gone 17.1 innings and allowed just six runs, striking out 18. He has yet to face Cleveland this year. 

Clevinger comes into this week with a 3.75 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 84 innings pitched. In his second year in the majors, the right-hander just surpassed his games mark from last season, appearing in his 18th game of the year. Lately, the Indians have been using him in alternating starting and relief roles. In his last two starts, he’s combined for 10 innings pitched with five earned runs and 11 strikeouts. However, all five of those runs came in a start against Boston, when he was chased after just three innings. 


Red Sox LineupHome RunsBatting AverageOn-Base Percentage
Nunez, 3B4.345.374
Benintendi, LF17.277.356
Betts, RF182.65.447
Ramirez, DH18.247.335
Devers, 3B8.350.416
Bogaerts, SS7.278.335
Moreland, 1B14.249.336
Vazquez, C3.286.328
Bradley, CF13.261.342
Indians LineupHome RunsBatting AverageOn-Base Percentage
Lindor, SS20.266.322
Kipnis, 2B11.228.286
Ramirez, 3B18.304.360
Encarnacion, 1B28.250.370
Bruce, RF3.375.444
Santana, DH12.305.376
Jackson, CF5.324.392
Guyer, LF2.215.312
Perez, C1.177.269

Who’s hot, and who’s not

Christian Vazquez is on a tear this month. In ten games he has a batting average of .387 and an OPS of 1.070. Also, over the course of his last 35 plate appearances, he has as many walks as strikeouts. Rafael Devers shows no signs of slowing down. His OPS on the month is 1.066, and he has four home runs in his last six games. 

Hanley Ramirez is hitting just .208 in August. He has just four hits in his last 22 plate appearances although three of them have been doubles. His slugging percentage in his last 12 games is just .375, which isn’t what you want to see out of your power hitting DH.  

Since being traded from the Mets, Jay Bruce has been excellent for the Tribe. In 11 games he has 15 hits, which is good for a .375 batting average. He also has three home runs and 12 RBIs with five doubles. Carlos Santana had a fantastic week last week. In 26 at-bats he gathered 11 hits, including a double, a triple, and two home runs. His OPS during that seven-game span was a whopping 1.300. 

On the other side, Francisco Lindor’s week was not so great. In 35 at-bats he managed just eight hits and zero walks. Of those eight hits, only two were for extra bases. He finished the seven-game stretch with a .229 average and .343 slugging percentage. Brandon Guyer has been having a rough August. In the month he has six hits in 12 games, with three RBIs. He is two for his last 18. 

Prediction Indians 5-4 Red Sox

Both teams are coming off of weekend series in which they bested division rivals in two out of three games. The pitching matchup is fairly balanced, although Rodriguez has put up a 4.76 ERA against lefties this season, of which Cleveland has five in their lineup. I think the Indians sneak away with this one on the power of their red-hot bats. 

Where to watch

Today’s game will be broadcast on NESN and STO, and streaming on MLB.TV for out of market subscribers. 

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Boston Red Sox vs Cleveland Indians Lineups, preview and prediction (8/21)

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