Indians-Red Sox Preview
No team in the AL was better at home last season than the Boston Red Sox, and they went on to win the World Series.
Fenway Park hasn’t been nearly as kind this year, but that appears to be changing.
While Boston seeks an eighth straight home win Saturday, the Cleveland Indians hope to avoid a fifth consecutive loss overall.
The Red Sox lost 17 of their first 27 home games, a stretch capped by a six-game skid that concluded May 22. They’ve since outscored opponents 37-11 in seven straight victories at Fenway for their longest run there since taking nine in a row July 5-24, 2011.
After dropping seven of nine on the road and scoring one run in a three-game series at Baltimore, Boston (31-36) surely was happy to host Cleveland, a team it’s dominated recently in its own park. That trend continued with Thursday’s 5-2 win before the Red Sox set a season high in runs Friday with a 10-3 victory.
"The thing that stands out is we answered every time they scored," manager John Farrell said. "That’s two nights in a row now and that’s very encouraging."
Mike Napoli, A.J. Pierzynski and Dustin Pedroia each delivered two-run doubles for Boston, which has won 20 of 27 at home against Cleveland (33-35), including eight of nine. The Red Sox have batted .311 and scored 36 runs with 21 extra-base hits during a five-game win streak against the Indians at Fenway.
"We’ve been able to ride some of the peaks and valleys here," Farrell said, "but there’s a number of guys that are relaxed in the (batter’s) box right now."
Daniel Nava is certainly relaxed when facing the Indians. He has five hits in the first two games of this series, raising his major league-best average against them among active players to .447.
Since capping a 9-1 stretch with a 17-7 win at Texas on Monday, Cleveland has totaled 11 runs while dropping four straight.
Lonnie Chisenhall, who had three homers and nine RBIs in that rout, went 0 for 4 Friday to end his nine-game hit streak. Jason Kipnis also had his 10-game run snapped.
Jake Peavy (1-4, 4.76 ERA) will try to help push the Red Sox over .500 at home and earn his first victory in more than six weeks.
Since beating Toronto on April 25, the right-hander has gone 0-4 with a 5.94 ERA in eight outings. He’s allowed three runs or more in seven consecutive starts and surrendered a season-high three homers over seven innings in Monday’s 4-0 loss to Baltimore.
"Take a few pitches back and it’s a different game," Peavy said. "I don’t care about my personal win-loss record. I don’t care about any personal numbers at this point. I’m pitching to win."
Peavy wasn’t sharp at Cleveland in his previous start June 3, yielding five runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 5-3 defeat. He had won four straight decisions against the Indians.
T.J. House (0-1, 5.24) gets another shot at his first major league win for Cleveland. The rookie left-hander was given a 9-1 lead Monday against the Rangers, but couldn’t make it to the fifth inning. He was charged with six runs and six hits before leaving with one out in the fourth.
That outing came six days after he outpitched Peavy and limited the Red Sox to two runs over 5 2-3 innings.