Apparently it’s laundry week for the Cleveland Indians. After splitting a four-game series against the division-rival Chicago White Sox, the Indians will make their way to Boston to take on the Red Sox for another four-game series starting tonight. However, unlike the last series against the White Sox there are no doubleheaders scheduled—at least not yet (cross your fingers). This will be the Indians’ first look at the Red Sox this season and will also be their lone trip up to Fenway Park in 2012.
This is going to be a very important series and should be a good test for the Indians. Yes, Boston has struggled mightily out of the gate to a record of 12-18, good enough for last place in the AL East, but they’re still the Red Sox. They’re loaded with talent, they have a lot to prove, and, oh yeah, they’re the Boston Red Sox, in case you happen to have forgotten. They’re supposed to be one of the best teams in baseball, and by the time September comes they’ll probably be in the thick of things, just like they always are.
What I’m trying to say is that this will be a good measure of where the Indians really stand in much the same way the home series against Texas was. The Rangers were the first legit opponent the Indians had played all season long (depending on your opinion of the Angels right now) and now Boston will serve as their first for real road opponent in a truly brutal setting. How they respond to what should be a very stressful four days will go a long way in telling us all about the intestinal fortitude of this team.
It goes without saying that things aren’t going to be easy for the Tribe. Even though Boston is 2-8 in their last 10 games and has a negative run differential, they’re very capable of putting up a lot of crooked numbers. Just ask the Tampa Bay Rays, who have he best record in baseball—they went into Boston for a four-game series and lost three of four, just barely avoiding a sweep. To expect the first-place Indians to go into Boston and simply have their way with the last-place Red Sox would be an unreasonable expectation.
Series Trivia: The Red Sox were recently swept at home by the Orioles in a three-game series for the first time since June of 1994. When was the last time the Indians swept a three game series from the Red Sox in Boston? (answer at the end)