Red Sox-Indians preview
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians are in an odd segment of their schedule in which they will play three different teams on three consecutive days at Progressive Field.
On Sunday, the Indians posted a 5-4 victory over the reeling Los Angeles Angels. Cleveland will host the Boston Red Sox on Monday before the Chicago White Sox come to town the following day for the first contest of a three-game series.
Monday's contest between the Indians and Red Sox is a makeup of a game that was postponed on April 7. The Indians will send Josh Tomlin (11-5, 4.18 ERA) to the mound, while Boston's starter will be Drew Pomeranz (0-2, 5.26).
Pomeranz is a former first-round pick by the Indians, who selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 June Draft. In 2011, the Indians traded Pomeranz to Colorado as part of the trade that brought Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland.
Since then, Pomeranz has bounced from the Rockies to pitch for Oakland, San Diego and Boston. In a combined 27 starts with San Diego and Boston this year, Pomeranz is 8-9 with a 3.03 ERA - including 0-2 with a 5.26 in five starts for the Red Sox.
Pomeranz has failed to record a decision and owns a 3.00 ERA in five career appearances against the Indians, all of them in relief.
Tomlin got off to a very fast start this season, but has struggled over the last month. He was 9-1 with a 3.21 ERA on July 1, but is 2-4 with a 6.88 ERA and eight home runs allowed in 34 innings in his last six outings.
The long ball has plagued Tomlin through most of his starts. He has allowed 27 homers, which ties him for the most of any American League pitcher.
The Indians, however, have plenty of support behind Tomlin. The addition of left-hander Andrew Miller to the Indians' bullpen has bolstered manager Terry Francona's late-game options.
Miller, closer Cody Allen and set-up man Bryan Shaw are the three chess pieces Francona has for the late innings in games the Indians are leading. Francona has stuck with Allen in the closer's role so far, with Shaw in the seventh and Miller in the eighth.
"We're still trying to figure out how we're going to use guys (late in games)," Miller said. "Flexibility is a positive I can offer. Any way (Francona) wants to use me, I'll happily oblige."
In their win over the Angels Sunday, Francona had Miller pitch the seventh and eighth innings and Allen the ninth. The two relievers combined to retire all nine batters they faced to preserve the win.
"With the way he was throwing, the best thing to do is to stay out of the way. That was phenomenal," Francona said of Miller's two-inning, six-batter domination of Angels hitters.
The matchup between the Indians and Red Sox will be one that features the two highest scoring teams in the American League. Boston leads the AL with an average of 5.51 runs per game and Cleveland is second at 5.11. The Red Sox are coming off a 16-2 pummeling of Arizona on Sunday.
"We've gone through some cycles offensively," Boston manager John Farrell said. "It looks like we're headed into one of those better cycles that we've seen strong offensive output."
Monday's game will be the first of Boston's 11-game, four-city road trip that will also include stops in Baltimore, Detroit and Tampa Bay.
"It's definitely really important," Mookie Betts said of the road trip after belting three homers versus the Diamondbacks on Sunday. "We're playing against some division guys and somebody we're in a race with, so it's going to be tough. They're really good teams, but we're a good team too."
Betts wasn't fazed by playing in four different parks over a five-day stretch.
"You've just got to go play," he said. "You can't let those type of things affect you."