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Series preview: Cleveland Indians at Boston Red Sox

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The offense came screeching to a halt with both Brantley and Kipnis not playing over the weekend in Minnesota. This road trip continues with a stop at venerable Fenway and the Boston Red Sox.

Big Papi at the dish
Big Papi at the dish
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The miniscule high hope of getting back into the fringe of the playoff discussion disappeared in the weekend series much like the Indians bats disappeared. They look to rebound as the road trip continues in Fenway and the suddenly staff killing Red Sox.

  • Monday 7:10 PM Danny Salazar (R) vs. Matt Barnes (R)
  • Tuesday 7:10 PM: Trevor Bauer (R) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (L)
  • Wednesday 7:10 PM: Corey Kluber (R) vs. Joe Kelly (R)

This is the final AL team that Cleveland has yet to play on the schedule. The Red Sox have had a very poor season, especially by their standards. They have been in the basement of the AL East since mid-June. The news regarding manager (and LGFT) John Farrell and his lymphoma seemed to have woken up the Red Sox bats over the weekend. They massacred Mariner pitching for 45 runs in 3 games, including a 22 run outburst off Felix Hernandez and the bullpen.

The Next Week: The Indians wrap the Eastern seaboard trip with a four game set in Yankee stadium. Before coming home to face the Brewers and Angels next week, they will play a makeup game at Wrigley Field on Monday.

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Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is running a $1,000,000 fantasy football league for week 1. It's $5 to enter and first place wins $100,000. Click here to join.

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Division Watch: Royals at Reds, Twins at Yankees, Tigers at Cubs, White Sox at Angels.

Team in a Box

Boston Red Sox

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2015 Record

52-65

Runs/Game

4.5

3rd

Runs/Game

4.9

14th

AL East

5th

OBP

325

3rd

H/9

9.5

14th

Last 10

5-5

SLG

407

7th

BB/9

3.0

13th

Last 30

11-19

Steals

52

10th

SO/9

7.6

9th

This team has not had much trouble generating offense, although the runs/game is a bit skewed after last weekend as they jumped from 4.2 to 4.5 in just three games. But the reason the Red Sox have struggled in 2015 is the pitching staff this is borderline dreadful. They are in the bottom in almost every category. The defense is eleventh in both fielding percentage and errors too, so they are not helping the staff all that much.

Projected Roster

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OPS

wRC+

C

Blake Swihart

S

206

253

633

70

1B

Travis Shaw

L

59

315

930

151

2B

Brock Holt

L

383

286

753

108

3B

Pablo Sandoval

L

399

259

705

91

SS

Xander Bogaerts

R

463

316

759

107

LF

Jackie Bradley Jr.

L

100

247

834

124

CF

Mookie Betts

R

455

271

760

104

RF

Rusney Castillo

R

143

279

714

93

DH

David Ortiz

L

458

263

860

127

OF

Hanley Ramirez

R

397

262

748

100

OF

Alejandro De Aza

L

165

313

882

139

C

Ryan Hanigan

R

145

252

674

91

IF

Josh Rutledge

R

23

222

570

54

IF

Garin Cecchini

L

4

000

000

-100

Both Sandoval and Ramirez, the two offseason signings, are dinged up and may or may not play in this series. The Red Sox have not deemed a DL stint is necessary for them so they are carrying one extra bat on the bench. But is it also likely Cecchini gets sent down to make room for the Monday starter, Matt Barnes. A lot of the roster is basically the Pawtucket Sox, but the soul crusher Ortiz is still there putting up great numbers at 39.

Many of these players have little to no history playing the Tribe as they played a good portion of their careers in the NL or have recently been called up. De Aza is an exception as he has a 289/370/447 split in 260 PA covering 64 games, mainly with the White Sox. And Ortiz has surprisingly been closer to average against the Tribe. He has a 261/341/461 line, with 21 home runs and 75 RBI in 490 PA in 121 games.

Projected Staff

Player

Throws

ERA

FIP

IP

WHIP

K/9

Wade Miley

L

4.58

3.98

139.2

1.38

6.8

Joe Kelly

R

5.69

4.29

99.2

1.52

7.9

Eduardo Rodriguez

L

4.83

4.31

78.1

1.29

7.2

Henry Owens

L

6.19

4.55

16.0

1.50

9.6

Matt Barnes

R

5.64

5.84

22.1

1.88

8.9

Alexi Ogando

R

3.91

5.61

50.2

1.22

7.6

Junichi Tazawa

R

3.24

2.77

50.0

1.14

8.6

Robbie Ross

L

3.99

4.00

47.1

1.35

7.6

Tommy Layne

L

4.37

4.02

35.0

1.51

9.0

Craig Breslow

L

4.44

5.23

46.2

1.50

8.9

Jean Machi#

R

4.97

4.26

41.2

1.44

6.3

Ryan Cook

R

40.50

14.61

2.0

5.50

13.5

# includes stats with Giants

Immovable object, versus unstoppable force. The meek Tribe offense takes on of the worst pitching staff numbers wise I have seen in a long time. Injuries have robbed the rotation of Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello and Brandon Workman. The bullpen just lost Koji Uehara and there appears to be quite a few reclamation projects in the pen as well.

Barnes, who will need to be activated prior to Monday's game, will be making his MLB debut as a starter although he does have 26 relief appearances. He is a former first round pick by the Sox in 2011 and likely won't pitch more than 5 innings. Rodriguez was the prize in the Andrew Miller trade with the Orioles last year. He has been really roughed up in two of his last five starts by the Marlins and Angels. Kelly was also picked up at the trade deadline last year, this time from the Cardinals for John Lackey. Since returning to the rotation in late July, he has a 5.76 ERA, 1.56 WHIP and 9.7 K/9 covering 25 innings in 5 starts.

It isn't clear who will close as that situation hasn't arisen since the Uehara injury. Best guess is Tazawa. Both Ogando and Ross are former Rangers, and Machi was claimed off waivers from the Giants two weeks ago. And off course, old friend Breslow is on the staff as well.

On the Shelf

  • SP Clay Buchholz [60 day DL], possible September return
  • 2B Dustin Pedroia [15 day DL], possible September return
  • SP Rick Porcello [15 day DL], possible late August return
  • LF Hanley Ramirez [day to day]
  • 3B Pablo Sandoval [day to day]
  • CL Koji Uehara  [15 day DL], out for season
  • P Anthony Varvaro  [60 day DL], out for season
  • C Christian Vazquez  [60 day DL], out for season
  • RP Brandon Workman  [60 day DL], out for season
  • P Stephen Wright  [7 day DL], possible late August return

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2015

-

-

-

-

-

-

2014

5

2

714

26

28

466

Last 5*

19

21

475

164

189

435

Last 10*

30

45

400

341

390

439

All-Time

1030

971

515

9317

9078

512

*Does not include 2015 stats

Prediction: If the offense has any sort of pulse, they could sweep the Sox in Fenway. But I have little faith in that right now. I do think they will take two of three just because Salazar and Bauer are both going.