BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Red Sox look to avenge an early season sweep at the hands of the Indians when they open up a seven-game road trip with three in Cleveland Monday night.
The Indians (29-15) have the best record in baseball and sport an 18-4 record at Progressive Field. They swept the Red Sox in the second series of the season, dropping Boston to 0-6 on the season at the time.
Now the Red Sox come in having won eight of their last nine and find themselves just half-a-game out of first place in the American League East.
“We’re a different club since the start of the season,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said after Boston’s 5-1 win over the Chicago Cubs Sunday night. “We’ve been playing better, we just have to continue to do so.”
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Pedroia is batting just .205 since April 10th, but other Red Sox have stepped up as of late. Adrian Gonzalez is 10 for his last 15, and hitting .481 over the last week. He leads the team in batting average (.341) home runs (9), and RBI (41, tops in the Majors).
“He’s just such a professional hitter,” manager Terry Francona said of his first baseman. “Hits the ball to left field, fights off pitches, gets something he can handle and he hits it off the wall. He’s a really good hitter and he’s in a really good period. I hope it lasts for awhile too.”
“I’m feeling good,” said Gonzalez after his four-for-four Sunday night. “Being able to swing at the pitches I want to swing at, I don’t chase too many pitches out of the zone. I just try to execute my game plan.”
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchi has been making the most of his plate appearances as well, going seven for his last 18, including three home runs, out of the nine spot in the order.
“He looks more confident and he should be,” Francona said of his young catcher. “He’s playing better.”
“It’s nice to go up to the plate wanting to hit the ball hard, getting a good pitch and being able to do it,” said Saltalmacchia.
The Red Sox will have their top three pitchers going in this series with Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester each getting a shot at the Indians. Buchholz starts the series, going against former Red Sox prospect Justin Masterson, who was traded to Cleveland in the Victor Martinez deal in 2009.
Pitching Matchups For Boston’s Three Game Set In Cleveland
Monday 7:05 pm
- Clay Buchholz (4-3, 3.42 ERA) vs Justin Masterson (5-2, 2.52 ERA)
Tuesday 7:05 pm
- Josh Beckett (3-1, 1.73 ERA) vs Fausto Carmona (3-4, 4.76 ERA)
Wednesday 12:05 pm
- Jon Lester (6-1, 3.68 ERA) vs TBA