The Red Sox have a great chance of picking up a third-straight victory in the series with a dominant road pitcher taking to the hill.
Boston Red Sox at Cleveland Indians
Boston continues a seven-game road trip with the third of four games in Cleveland, grabbing the first two games of the series by scores of 3-2 and 4-1. The Red Sox have a 17-11 road record this season (+420), which is the second-best in the majors behind only the Tampa Bay Rays (22-8). The team has won 10 of its last 12 road games beginning on May 18 at Yankee Stadium. Sox’ pitchers have combined on a 1.53 ERA over the club’s last nine road games, including an 8-0 mark and 0.70 ERA by the starters. The club also owns the best record in the league since April 20, going 31-16 over that span. Boston is 10-7 against the American League Central this season and has the best mark in the majors versus the division since the start of the 2007 season (82-42).
Red Sox SP Clay Buchholz is 8-3 with a 2.39 ERA in 11 starts this season (+460). The right-hander tossed a complete game shutout for an 11-0 win at Baltimore in his last start, which was his second career shutout and third complete game. Buchholz is 5-0 with an MLB-best 0.99 ERA in his last five starts. He will make his second career start against the Indians, as he allowed six runs in just three innings of work against them in a start at Fenway Park on October 4, 2009. The right-hander is also a perfect 5-0 with a 1.31 ERA in five road starts this season (+520), with the Red Sox outscoring opponents 34-10 in the process.
Cleveland sits in last-place in the division and has scored a total of three runs in the first two games of this series. The Indians are also a disappointing 3-13 in their last 16 home games and 8-16 overall at Progressive Field (-820). Ironically enough, the team finds itself as a home underdog of +150 to +175 for just the second time this year (-100) and fifth time in the last three years overall (-240). Even though the team carries a losing record against right and left-handed pitching, the Indians are just 13-25 against righties this season (-1,000). Cleveland is also a dismal 2-11 against the high-powered AL East division this year, which is a far cry from its 14-17 mark against its own division.
Indians SP Justin Masterson will make his 12th start of the season, going 1-5 with a 5.46 ERA (-450). He grabbed a victory in his last start, but it happened to be his first win since August 20, 2009. The stretch of 17 consecutive starts without a win was the longest stretch in club history. Masterson is 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA over his last two starts, but has issued seven walks in his last 12.1 innings of work. Walks has been a common problem for the right-hander the entire season, walking 33 batters in just 59.1 frames. The former Red Sox pitcher has never faced his former team.
Bettors will be hard-pressed to pass on the opportunity of playing a perfect road pitcher regardless of price. A play on the first five innings may offer some protection, considering the Indians have grabbed 13 of their 21 victories this season in comeback fashion. The sweetener is the fact that Boston has cashed in four of those five games (4-0-1).