The Unfriendly Confines of Progressive Field


Beginning the season in Texas against the defending AL Pennant winning Rangers was a tough draw for the Boston Red Sox. They had to face some tough pitching and a powerful line-up that seems to be able to clear the fences at will. Before traveling home to face another brutal opponent in the New York Yankees, the Sox head to Cleveland for a 3-game set with the Indians. Some say this is a perfect chance to get on track before beginning the home-schedule, but if history is any indication, Progressive Field has been a challenging place to play for the Red Sox as of late. In a 4-game set last season, the Red Sox bats hit a measly .223 at Progressive Field and the pitching staff allowed 21 earned runs in 34.2 innings. Still think this is an easy, cupcake series?

The Red Sox ended up splitting the 4-game set in Cleveland and split the season series in 2010 4-4, even though the Indians finished with a record of 69-93. The match-ups for this series are also interesting, with tough numbers for Josh Beckett. Over the course of his career, game 1 starter Beckett is 3-4 with a 5.56 ERA against the Indians in 7 starts. The career numbers do look considerably better for Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lester, starters for games 2 and 3. Dice-K is a career 4-1 against the Indians with a 2.34 ERA, while Lester is a career 3-1 against them with a 4.53 ERA, so if history is any indication, that is a good sign. Can the Red Sox offense improve upon last year’s awful numbers? I certainly hope so.

I do think the Red Sox will leave Cleveland with 2 victories, but I don’t think it will be as easy as people may think. The Indians allowed 24 runs to the Chicago White Sox in 3-games to begin the year, making me believe they were in a lot of trouble this season right off the bat, but the bulk came from a 15-run output on opening day. They did however score 20 runs against the White Sox, getting a 7-1 victory in the 3rd game of the series. They are hitting .318 as a team, good for 2nd behind the White Sox in the AL and have an on-base percentage of .369, good for 4th in the league. It is a small sample size, and I fully expect all the numbers to decrease as the season wears on, but they are not a team to be overlooked this early in the season. They have some talented young players, namely catcher Carlos Santana, and a familiar face in Orlando Cabrera, so their offense has the potential to be okay this season, putting up solid run numbers on occasion.

For a more in-depth preview of the series, check out Derek’s post on the series, outlining each pitching match-up, injuries, and news on both teams. Be cautious of the lowly Indians, because they might surprise you.

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