Monday starts a three-game series between the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians. For Boston, pretty much every game for the rest of the season is do-or-die. They currently sit at 62-58 and have zero hope for the division title being 16 games out. Their Wild Card chances are barely much better, 7.5 games out. But, with what we’ve seen out of the Mets, anything is possible.
Speaking of Met-like rolls, Cleveland is on a bit of its own. They finished July winning seven of 10, and in August, they have won eight of the 11 they’ve played. They have catapulted themselves into a tie for the American League Central as well as the first Wild Card.
For the Red Sox, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball and make his 25th start of the season. So far, he is 13-5 with a 4.17 earned run average. Rodriguez had an absolutely stellar month of July. He made five starts, winning each one. He allowed a total of seven runs in those five starts while pitching a combined 31 innings and striking out 29 batters.
Rodriguez has still been good in his two August starts, although he has not picked up a win in either. This is his first start against the Indians this season, but holds a 1-0 record with a 2.63 ERA in two career starts against Cleveland.
For the Indians, rookie Zach Plesac will take the mound for his 14th start of the season. Plesac is just another example of the terrific farm system that Cleveland has developed for pitching over the years. He is 6-3 in his first big league season with a terrific 3.13 earned run average.
With the exception of one bad start in Baltimore, Plesac has been sparkling all season long. He has made 13 starts, and in 10 (!!!) of them, he has given up two earned runs or less. The catalyst for that may be his incredibly low BABIP, at only .228. That is probably why his FIP and xFIP are also closer to 5.00 than his ERA. Regardless of his shaky sabermetrics, Plesac has been great for Cleveland this year.
Batters To Watch
The trade deadline was somewhat quiet this season than what fans were expecting. One of the big blockbuster deals that happened though, was a three-team trade that sent Yasiel Puig to the Indians. Puig is slashing .263/.313/.484 this season with 23 home runs and 67 RBI. The Indians have won 8-of-11 in August and Puig is a big reason for that. He has a hit in all but two of those games.
Boston has had a shaky 2019 season, and the emergence of Rafael Devers has gone unnoticed because of it. He is easily having the best season nobody is talking about. Devers is batting .317 with 24 home runs and 90 runs batted in.
It is so hard to pick the Red Sox with any sort of consistency this season. The Indians are rolling, and Plesac has a sub-3 earned run average at home. Take Cleveland.