Game 49: Indians at Red Sox - Rain, rain go away

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

Outside of a three-run mammoth of a home run by David Ortiz, it just doesn’t get much uglier than it did last night. The Boston Red Sox (28-20) suffered a 12-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians (27-19) on a rain-soaked night at Fenway Park. The forecast isn’t much better today, for the weather at least, but the Sox will try to bounce back and even up the four-game series with the Tribe.

Tonight’s Red Sox starter is John Lackey (2-4, 3.31 ERA). He picked up his second win of the season with a six-inning, one-run performance against the Twins Sunday. Here is Boston’s lineup (first pitch slated for 7:10 pm EDT, weather permitting):

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Nava, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Saltalamacchia, C
7. Carp, LF
8. Drew, SS
9. Iglesias, 3B

Lackey, P

The Indians’ starter will be Justin Masterson (7-2, 2.83 ERA). The former Red Sox pitcher was lit up by Boston in a 6-3 Red Sox win in April. Masterson went five innings and gave up four runs on 11 hits. It was his first loss of the season. The righty, however, has won three straight games and was named the American League Pitcher of the Week for May 13-19, with two wins, 16 scoreless innings and 20 strikeouts. He struck out 11 in seven innings with just three hits against the Mariners in his most recent start.

Back in the game
Two players, one from each team, will return to their respective rosters tonight. Boston catcher David Ross was on the 7-day concussion DL and has been reactivated for tonight. Ryan Lavarnway will be sent back down to Triple-A. Ross had an RBI double and caught five innings for Portland Thursday. Also, Cleveland’s Nick Swisher is being activated from MLB’s paternity list, as he and his wife welcomed a healthy baby girl into the world Tuesday.

As noted, the Sox have sent Will Middlebrooks and Shane Victorino to the 15-day DL. Jose Iglesias and Alfredo Aceves have been recalled from Pawtucket.

More showdowns in the AL East
The Sox continue their run against AL Central teams, but the other four teams in the East play each other for the third straight series. Baltimore (25-22, 3rd place) goes to Toronto (20-27, 5th) while the Yankees (28-18, 1st) visit Tampa Bay (24-22, 4th). Most experts figured the East to be a slugfest until the end with the majority of teams finishing between 82-88 wins. Division games like this certainly will help shape the East as we move closer to the All-Star Break and, of course, September.

Streaking Pedey
With a 1-for-4 night, Dustin Pedroia has now hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games, batting .389 during that stretch and raising his average from .293 to .332. Pedroia and Ortiz are about the only two hitters who have been consistent for the Sox during the month of May. Someone else needs to step up if Boston wants to keep winning because Big Papi and Pedey will eventually cool off and won’t be able to carry the team on their shoulders.

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