The Cleveland Indians, who were being written off by some people after only two games this season, find themselves above .500 for the first time since 2008, and will try to win their fourth straight game and sweep Boston when the season-opening homestand concludes this afternoon at 12:05 at Progressive Field.
Fausto Carmona (0-1), who lasted only 3+ innings on Opening Day against the White Sox, surrendering ten earned runs for an ERA of 30.00, will hopefully, in this start, be more relaxed, especially with the Indians playing well since the opener, and can extend the Tribe’s winning ways.
Boston, on the other hand, is desperate for a win before their home opener at Fenway tomorrow against the Yankees. The Red Sox find themselves 0-5 and in danger of panicking their fan base, who have lofty expectations for this team and have to be mortified over being swept in Texas and now being on the verge of being swept in Cleveland.
Jon Lester will be Carmona’s mound opponent today. Lester — in his lone start, against the Rangers — got a no-decision, giving up five earned runs in five and-a-third innings, and comes into today’s game with an ERA of 8.44.
But, just as Fausto cannot be judged on one bad outing, so too can it not be said that Lester is a cupcake because he was knocked around in hitter-friendly Arlington. Lester has a career mark of 61-25 and an ERA of 3.58.
Folks, both of those are quality numbers, and the ERA is exceptional for a pitcher in the American League.
Of course, when a team is winning, odd things happen and good pitchers can be beat. Case in point: last night, in the bottom of the sixth, with the Tribe clinging to a 3-2 lead (on their way to an 8-4 win), Cleveland loaded the bases with nobody out on two hit-batsmen and a walk. Michael Brantley then hit a liner to third which Kevin Youkilis got a glove on, then dropped. Thinking fast, Youkilis stepped on third for the force there, then fired home trying to double up Travis Buck. The throw beat Buck by plenty, but Jason Varitek forgot that — since the force at third had negated any force at the plate — he needed to tag Buck to record the put-out. When Varitek took the throw with his foot planted on the plate, the assumption was that Buck was out…but Buck scored on the mental lapse. The missed double play opportunity immediately haunted the Red Sox, when the next batter -- Asdrubal Cabrera -- blasted a three-run home run and basically put the game out of reach.
Anything can happen in baseball, and hopefully today, what can happen is that the Indians can finish off a sweep.