Both the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians will play in the postseason this year for the third consecutive season and the two could play one another for a second time in the last three seasons.
The Indians swept Boston in 2016 in the American League Division Series on their way to losing in the World Series to the Chicago Cubs. The two were both eliminated last season in the ALDS as Boston fell to the Houston Astros and Cleveland to the New York Yankees.
However, the remainder of the regular season must be played out first and on Monday the Indians visit Fenway Park for the start of a four-game series, which is the first game of seven the two will play between now and the end of the regular season.
Cleveland arrives with two starting pitchers – Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco – with identical record of 15-6 with Kluber pitching the opener of the series and Carrasco the third game.
Cleveland is running away with the AL Central leading by 12 games, and has won seven of the last eight including an 8-0 win Sunday over the Baltimore Orioles.
The shutout on Sunday by Indians pitchers was their 13 of the season and leads the AL while tied for second in the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates trailing only the 14 by the Chicago Cubs pitching staff.
Despite losing on Sunday, Boston was shutout for the fifth time this season, the Red Sox remain hot. Boston won two of three over Tampa Bay and is 88-37 leading the AL East by 9 ½ games over the New York Yankees.
The Indians received good news over the weekend when it was announced that outfielder Leonys Martin, who had been battling a bacterial infection that threatened his life, was released on Sunday from Cleveland Clinic.
Indians general manager Chris Antonetti announced the news to the media about Martin’s release, but said there was not much more information about the short-term future for Martin other than he will have several follow-up checks with doctors this week to monitor his overall health.
Cleveland is without Edwin Encarnacion as well. The slugger is suffering from both biceps and hand injuries and Cleveland hopes he can begin batting practice this week but will likely not be activated on Tuesday, which is the first day he is eligible.