Boston Redsox vs. Cleveland Indians Preview and Pick

Boston Red Sox -125, o/u 8 at Cleveland Indians, 8 pm Eastern Thursday, Fox
by Zman of

The Cleveland Indians look to clinch their first World Series berth since 1997 when they host the Boston Red Sox for game 5 of the ALCS Thursday night at Jacobs Field.

Cleveland lost the opener of this American League Championship Series 10-3 six days ago, but has won the last three games to take a 3-1 series lead. The Indians beat Boston Tuesday night 7-3 in game four, and the teams had Wednesday off.

The Tribe is 6-2 this playoff season, and 4-0 at home. The o/u is 4-2-2 in those eight Cleveland playoff games, which are averaging 11 runs per.

The Red Sox are 4-3 this playoff season, 1-2 on the road. The o/u is 3-2-2 in those games, which are averaging 10.1 runs per.

Boston won the regular-season series with the Indians this year five games to two, and outscored the Tribe 34-25. But in winning three of the first four games of this series, Cleveland has outscored the Sox 27-21.

Boston went 45-36 on the road during the regular season, while the Indians went 51-29 at home.

Playoff ace Josh Beckett (20-7, 3.27) will try to stave off elimination for the Red Sox Thursday night against big lefty C.C. Sabathia (19-7, 3.21) for Cleveland.

Beckett, who already had a pretty good reputation as a big-game pitcher before he joined the Red Sox, has started twice already this playoff season, and has performed wonderfully. He’s allowed just two ER and eight hits over 15 IP, walking none and striking out 15. Boston has won both those games.

Beckett has also started three games vs. the Indians this year, including that ALCS-opening win last Friday. He’s allowed five ER on 11 hits, walking one and striking out 21, in 21 innings of work vs. Cleveland this season. The Sox went 2-1 in those games, the lone loss a 1-0 decision back in July.

Overall this season, Boston is 23-9 in Beckett’s starts, the o/u 15-16.

On the other side of this pitching match-up, Cleveland is 24-12 in Sabathia’s starts this year, the o/u 17-17. But C.C. has struggled in the playoffs, allowing 11 ER on 11 walks and 11 hits in just 9 1/3 IP in two starts. He gave up eight ER in game 1 to the Sox, but held them to one ER and five hits in seven IP in his only other start this year vs. Boston, back in July.

The Red Sox bullpen, thanks mostly to that disastrous 11th inning in game 2, has allowed 11 ER and 26 baserunners over 16 IP in this ALCS.

The Indians pen has given up five ER and 16 baserunners in 17 IP in this series.

Boston opened up as a -115 favorite for Thursday night’s game, with a total of 8 . The Sox have since been bet up to -125 at many sports bookies and the total has been bet down to 8.

The weatherman is calling for warm temps in Cleveland Thursday night, in the 60s, and humid. Also, the winds may be a benefit to right-handed hitters, blowing out toward left field at around 15 mph.

The Zman Pick: We like Boston to stave off elimination with their Ace on the hill.