Series Preview: Indians at Red Sox 5/23-26


Cleveland Indians (26-19) Chance of Postseason Play: (52.9%) at Boston Red Sox (28-19) Chance of Postseason Play: (61.3%)
Series 16, Games 46, 47, 48 and 49.
Fenway Park, Boston: 1.040, Hitters Park.

Weather: Humid to start the series on Thursday and Friday, so the ball should fly out of the park, especially over the MONSTAH in left field. No rain delays expected.

Thursday , May 23 7:10 EDT (STO, WKYC 3, MLBN) 
Zach McAllister (3-3, 2.65)  vs. Ryan Dempster (2-4, 4.27)

Dempster allowed five runs over 4.2 innings and did not factor in the decision Saturday against the Twins. He gave up eight hits while walking six and striking out two. Dempster's control was absolutely terrible to say the least, evident by the six walks and pitch count of 127 when he left the game but, due to great run support, he was able to avoid a loss. Although he has 63 strikeouts so far on the season, he has also allowed a lot of base runners. There are three main pitches in Dempster's repertoire, and that is a fastball, slider, and splitter. The slider and splitter are his most effective pitches, and he goes to his slider so much that he throws it almost as often as his fastball. He is mostly known for having an odd glove shake while he pitches, which is apparently done so hitters don't see him adjust his pitch grip prior to delivering the ball.

Friday, May 24 7:10 EDT (STO)
Justin Masterson (7-2, 2.83) vs. John Lackey (2-4, 3.31)
Lackey allowed one run (unearned) on one hit while striking out five without walking a batter to pick up the win in the Sox's 5-1 victory over the Twins on Sunday. A rain delay shortened the Lackey's outing to 84 pitches, or he could have given the Red Sox another inning.  Lackey's 3.31 ERA and 3.22 xFIP so far this season is a bit of a surprise. After a horrible 2011 and 2012 after signing a big deal with the Red Sox, he got into tip-top shape in the off season and is looking to continue his good pitching. 

Lackey has those numbers thanks to a 22.9 K% and 5.7 BB%. He can probably maintain a walk rate like that, but the K rate will likely regress. His swinging strike rate isn’t terrible at 8.1%, but he’s not going to strike out more than a batter per inning at that rate. And his velocity isn’t quite what it used to be. Expect him to settle in the 18%-19% range for the rest of the season. This is a good match up for the Indians, let's hope they take advantage.

Saturday, May 25 1:35 EDT (STO)
Scott Kazmir (L) (2-2, 6.35) vs. John Lester (L) (6-1, 3.15)
Lester was hit hard by the White Sox Monday night, allowing six runs and five earned over six innings of work while taking his first loss of the season. Lester has been mostly terrific this season, but the White Sox's bats caught up to him during the game. A little surprising knowing that the White Sox do not have a prolific offense. Lester has received strong run support this season as he ranks fourth in the majors with 8.84 runs per start, according to Elias. Lester likes the cut fastball against right-handed hitters and that is certainly his best pitch.  They are hitting only .217 with a .618 OPS against him. So, the lefties in the Indians lineup are going to have to step up in order for them to score enough runs to win the game.

Sunday, May 26 1:35 EDT (STO)

Corey Kluber (3-3, 5.19) vs. Felix Doubront (L) (3-2, 5.61)

Doubront tossed six innings of two-run baseball Tuesday, allowing five hits and two walks to go with three strikeouts, during the team's loss in Chicago. Doubront induced 10 ground-ball outs, but his only mistake was a two-run homerun to Jeff Keppinger which put the game away. He'll follows up his third quality start of 2013 today against an Indians team who he held to two runs in five innings earlier this season.

Mike Melaragno

About Mike Melaragno

A 2010 graduate of Lee University, Mike loves writes about the game he loves most-- baseball. From an early age, he learned to live and die with the Tribe-- mostly die. Died a little when they lost the 1997 World Series in extra innings; died a lot when they were one game away from advancing to the fall classic in 2007 but fell to the Red Sox in game seven of the ALCS. He currently resides in Northeast Ohio.