Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians Preview and Pick

Boston Red Sox (8-6) PK, o/u 9 at Cleveland Indians (5-8), 7:05 pm Eastern Tuesday
by Zman of

A night after Manny Ramirez pulled one of his late-innings tricks on his former team, the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians play the finale of a quick, two-game set at Progressive Field Tuesday night.

Baseball Bookies list this game at right around a pick ’em, with an over/under of 9 .

Cleveland led Boston 4-1 in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, but the Sox rallied to tie the game at 4. Then Ramirez hit a two-run homer off Indians closer Joe Borowski in the ninth to give Boston its third win in a row.

Going into Tuesday’s game, the Sox sit in second place in the AL East, a half-game back of the first-place Baltimore Orioles.

Cleveland has now lost four of its last five games, and sits in fourth place in the AL Central, three games behind the first-place Kansas City Royals.

The Tribe is just 3-4 at home this season, while Boston is 4-4 on the road.

Last year, the Red Sox took the regular-season series from the Indians five games to two, then rallied from a three-games-to-one deficit to win the AL Championship Series. During those regular-season games, the o/u went 2-5, but in the playoffs, four of the seven games went over their totals. Overall, the 14 games these two teams played against each other last year averaged 10.1 total runs.

Knuckle-baller Tim Wakefield (1-0, 3.27, 1.55 WHIP this year) is slated to hit the hill for Boston Tuesday against Paul Byrd (0-2, 11.05, 2.32 WHIP) for Cleveland.

Wakefield is coming off a decent start five days ago against Detroit, in which he allowed one ER in five innings of a 12-6 Red Sox win. But the flutterball pitcher walked five that day. Boston is 1-1 in Wakefield’s starts this year, the o/u 1-0-1.

Last year, Wakefield made one start vs. the Indians, allowing five ER and seven baserunners (hits + walks) in 4 2/3 IP of a 7-3 Red Sox loss in the ALCS.

Byrd has been lousy in two starts this season. In his latest outing, he gave up six ER and eight baserunners in just three innings of a 9-5 Cleveland loss at the Angels six days ago. The Tribe is 0-2 in Byrd’s starts this year, the o/u 2-0.

Last season, Byrd started two games against Boston, one of them in that ALCS, allowing three ER and 15 baserunners in 11 IP. The Indians won both those games, and the o/u went 1-0-1.

Offensively, the Red Sox own a .344 team OBP this season, which ranks 8th in the majors, and are averaging 4.4 runs per game. Meanwhile, Cleveland owns a .327 team OBP, and is averaging 4.5 RPG.

The Boston bullpen has given up eight ER and 25 baserunners in its last 18 IP. On the other side, the Indians pen has allowed 10 ER and 23 baserunners in its last 20 innings of work.

The o/u is 6-7 in Red Sox games this season, which are averaging 8.9 total runs, while the totals are 8-5 in Cleveland games, which are averaging 9.6 runs. Games played at Jacobs Field last year the name has been changed to Progressive Field averaged 10.0 total runs.

Zman’s Pick: Take the Indians as a short favorite.