Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox Preview and Pick

Cleveland Indians +135, o/u 8 at Boston Red Sox, 7 pm Eastern Friday
by Zman of

The two teams that tied for the best record in the American League begin their best-of-seven AL Championship Series when the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox hook up Friday night in Beantown.

Cleveland and Boston both finished the regular season with records of 96-66; the Indians won the AL Central crown, while the Sox took the AL East title. But Boston has home-field advantage in this series because they took the season series with Cleveland this year five games to two.

The Indians are coming off an emotional 3-1 divisional-round series victory over the New York Yankees. Cleveland outscored New York 24-16 in the series, and the o/u went 2-1-1.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox swept the Los Angeles Angels in three games last week, outscoring the Halos 19-4 while the o/u went 1-1-1.

In their season series, Boston outscored the Tribe 34-25, with the o/u going 4-3. Those seven games averaged 8.4 runs per.

Cleveland went 45-37 on the road this season, while the Red Sox went 51-30 at Fenway Park.

Lefty C.C. Sabathia (19-7, 3.21) gets the start in the series opener Friday night for the Indians against Josh Beckett (20-7, 3.27) for Boston.

Sabathia started game one vs. New York last week, and allowed three ER and 10 baserunners in five innings of a 12-3 Cleveland win.

Beckett started game one vs. Los Angeles last week, and shut out the Angels on four hits, walking none and striking out eight in a 4-0 Red Sox victory.

On the season, the Indians went 20-7 in Sabathia’s starts, the o/u 16-17, while Boston went 22-9 in Beckett’s starts, the o/u 14-16.

Sabathia made one start vs. the Sox this season, giving up one ER and five hits in seven IP, striking out seven, in a 1-0 Cleveland loss.

Beckett made two starts vs. the Tribe this year, allowing just three ER and eight baserunners over 15 IP, striking out 14. But Boston could only go 1-1 in those two games.

Cleveland ranked seventh in the majors this season with a .343 team OBP and averaged 5.0 runs per game.

The Red Sox ranked second in the league with their .362 team OBP and averaged 5.4 RPG.

The Indians bullpen ranked sixth in the majors with a 3.73 ERA and eighth with a 1.33 WHIP.

The Boston pen ranked second in the league with its 3.10 ERA and first with a 1.21 WHIP.

The o/u went 72-84 in Cleveland games this year and 75-84 in Sox games, but 43-36 at Fenway Park, where games averaged 10.2 runs per.

Boston opened up as a -150 favorite for Friday night’s game, but has been bet up to -155 and more at many sportsbooks.

Zman’s Take: Anybody that thinks they can pick a winner in this one is nuts. Its either pass or play the UNDER 8 runs here. Two of the best pitchers in the AL is a tough proposition to pick apart. This is a game to brew up some popcorn and glue your eyes to the boobtube and just enjoy the post season fever. But, since we’re all degenerates, lunch money on the under will make it more exciting to watch.