Indians’ Miller might miss rest of Red Sox series — and more
CLEVELAND — The two teams with the two best pitching staffs in the American League will meet again Tuesday night at Progressive Field as the Cleveland Indians host the Boston Red Sox in the second game of a four-game series.
The Indians won the opener 5-4 on Monday night on a game-ending throwing error.
Cleveland and Boston rank No. 1 and No. 2, in that order, in starters’ ERA, bullpen ERA and overall team ERA this year.
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The Indians, however, likely will be missing a key piece from their bullpen Tuesday night. Andrew Miller, who just came off the disabled list over the weekend, could be headed back onto the DL.
Miller pitched to one batter in the seventh inning Monday, walking him, then left the mound after a recurrence of right patellar tendinitis. It is the same injury that caused Miller to be on the disabled list from Aug. 2-17.
“He threw one pitch and really felt it,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “We’ll go back to the drawing board. That’s not what we were hoping for, but we’ll let the medical people put their heads together and see what they can do.”
Miller is the Indians’ most important reliever, and arguably the second most valuable player on the team after Corey Kluber. It would not be a surprise if Miller is sidelined for an extended period in order to get him healthy for the playoffs.
The Tuesday pitching matchup is a pair of right-handers, Boston’s Doug Fister (2-6, 5.56 ERA) vs. Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco (12-5, 3.76).
Carrasco is having the best year of his career. He ranks in the top 10 in the league in wins, ERA, winning percentage, strikeouts and opponents’ batting average.
However, the Red Sox roughed up Carrasco in his last start against Boston, a 12-10 Cleveland loss on Aug. 1. Carrasco was knocked out of that game after 1 2/3 innings, having given up five runs on six hits with three walks and one strikeout.
He has rebounded since then, and in his past two starts, he is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA. In those outings, he held opposing hitters to a .156 batting average with 19 strikeouts and three walks in 13 innings.
In six career appearances vs. Boston, four of them starts, Carrasco is 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA.
Two of Fister’s past three starts came against the Indians. One was very good, the other was not. On July 31, Fister beat Cleveland 6-2, pitching 7 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
However, on Aug. 14, Fister took the loss in a 7-3 Indians victory. He pitched four innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and four walks.
Fister has plenty of experience pitching against the Indians. In 18 career starts against Cleveland, the 33-year-old veteran is 6-5 with 3.35 ERA.
“There’s a lot of familiarity on both sides, particularly against a team that’s not in your division,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told MLB.com. “There might be another new face that (Fister) hasn’t faced in the (Cleveland lineup) with the way their guys have come back off the disabled list.
“He’s pitched a couple good ballgames for us. We’re going to need it again.”