Indians’ bats looking to rise behind Cabrera
The Boston Red Sox’s disappointing season has been rife with injuries, and now they may have lost Will Middlebrooks for a while.
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The Red Sox will likely be without their rookie third baseman Saturday night when they continue their series against the Cleveland Indians.
Boston snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over Cleveland on Friday behind a two-hitter by Clay Buchholz and a two-run homer from Cody Ross.
Buchholz provided the Red Sox (56-58) a much-needed lift from one of their starters. Boston had lost 13 of its previous 20 as its starters went 3-10 with a 5.82 ERA, including a 9.00 mark during the three-game skid.
“Just what the doctor ordered,” manager Bobby Valentine said.
Unfortunately for Valentine’s Red Sox, Middlebrooks will need to follow doctor’s orders for the immediate future. He was taken for X-rays after he was hit by a pitch on his wrist in Friday’s ninth inning.
Middlebrooks has been one of Boston’s bright spots this season, hitting .288 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs.
“He got hit pretty good,” Valentine said. “He was in a lot of pain. I don’t think he’s in there (Saturday). I was hoping it got more meat, but it was straight on the bone.”
While it waits for word on the seriousness of Middlebrooks’ injury, Boston has already pushed back the return of slugger David Ortiz. The Red Sox originally hoped to activate him Sunday, but Valentine said Friday that won’t happen.
With Boston’s lineup dealing with disappointing news, its rotation hopes to build off Buchholz’s outing with another strong start.
Franklin Morales (3-2, 3.14 ERA) will take the mound Saturday after a promising spot start in place of Josh Beckett last week earned him another turn.
Morales allowed one run and three hits in six innings of a 6-4 victory over Minnesota on Sunday, improving to 3-1 with a 3.06 ERA in six starts this year.
“I think it’s an easy decision. We just have to figure out all the parts,” Valentine said of Morales earning another start. “He wants to start and I want him to start. We can’t always count on a guy getting injured to get him out there.”
The left-hander is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in six relief appearances against the Indians, including two scoreless outings in 2012.
Cleveland (52-61), which had won its previous two following an 11-game losing streak, hopes to get more offense than it did against Buchholz.
Asdrubal Cabrera had both of the Indians’ hits Friday. He’s hitting .333 in his last 17 games.
Cleveland will hand the ball to Zach McAllister (4-4, 3.60), who tries to avoid a third straight loss following his worst outing of the season.
McAllister gave up nine runs – two earned – in 1 2-3 innings of a 14-3 loss to Minnesota on Monday.
“Once the hits started coming, they didn’t stop,” he said.
The right-hander made his first start against the Red Sox on May 12, allowing four runs in seven innings of a 4-1 loss.