Expert Cappers Picks
Major League Baseball
Preview
Cleveland at Boston
When: 7:10 PM ET, Monday, August 20, 2018
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians both are enjoying large leads in their respective divisions and are ready to test themselves against each other. The division leaders will meet for the first time in 2018 when the Indians visit the Red Sox on Monday for the opener of their four-game series.

Boston owns the best record in baseball at 88-37 but comes into the week off a rare loss as it fell 2-0 to Tampa Bay on Sunday, marking the team's 10th setback in its last 47 games. The Red Sox, who are 9 1/2 games ahead of the New York Yankees in the American League East, have not suffered back-to-back losses since June 19 and 20 and are 10-0-3 in their last 13 series despite managing only two hits against the Rays on Sunday. That rare sluggish offensive performance could continue against Cleveland, which blanked Baltimore 8-0 on Sunday and owns a pitching staff that is allowing an average of two runs over the last six contests. The Indians, who own a 12-game lead over Minnesota in the AL Central, will try to continue that run of strong pitching with ace Corey Kluber while the Red Sox counter with Rick Porcello in a battle of former Cy Young Award winners.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland), NESN (Boston)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Corey Kluber (15-6, 2.68 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (15-5, 4.04)

Kluber is making a run at another Cy Young Award as he breezed through seven innings at Cincinnati on Tuesday, allowing one run and five hits while striking out seven en route to a win. The Stetson product has surrendered fewer than two earned runs in three of his last four outings, working at least seven frames in each of the four turns. Kluber struck out 12 in 7 2/3 innings against Boston last season but yielded two runs and absorbed a loss.

Porcello bounced back from a sub-par outing with a win at Philadelphia on Tuesday, allowing one run and two hits while registering 10 strikeouts in seven innings. The native of New Jersey was ripped for seven runs over four frames at Toronto in his previous turn. Porcello did not get a chance to face Cleveland in 2017 as he is seeing the Indians for the first time since suffering a loss in the 2016 AL Division Series.

WALK-OFFS

1. Red Sox RF Mookie Betts, who leads the majors with a .343 batting average, is hitless in his last 10 at-bats.

2. Indians DH Edwin Encarnacion (hand) will take batting practice on Monday and is eligible to come off the disabled list the following day.

3. Boston DH J.D. Martinez had his string of 51 straight home games in which he reached base safely come to an end on Sunday.

PREDICTION: Indians 3, Red Sox 1
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Cleveland 71-52 W1 39-24 32-28 8-9 37-17 14-18 12-8
Boston 88-37 L1 44-16 44-21 45-16 14-8 20-10 9-3
Last Meeting
Cleveland Boston
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
8/24/17 BOS 6 CLE 13 .450 2 1.261 .265 2 .888
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Cleveland L. Martin .222 4 .800
Boston S. Pearce .400 2 1.000
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Cleveland L. Martin 1 2 2
Boston S. Pearce 0 2 2
Pitching ERA Avg K
Cleveland 0.00 .000 0
Boston 0.00 .000 0
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Cleveland J. Ramirez .300 134 1.045
Boston M. Betts .343 141 1.082
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Cleveland J. Ramirez 37 86 91
Boston J. Martinez 38 92 106
Pitching ERA Avg K
Cleveland 3.74 .258 1138
Boston 3.46 .268 1207