The Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox’s respective slumps are both due in large part to their struggles from the mound. However, both are hoping things will start turning around soon.
The Indians will try to win their third straight Friday night when they face Clay Buchholz and the Red Sox.
After losing 11 straight while being outscored 95-36, Cleveland has won back-to-back games after opening this series with a 5-3 victory Thursday.
That came after the Indians (52-60) announced they had fired pitching coach Scott Radinsky.
“It’s not a decision we arrived at lightly,” general manager Chris Antonetti told the team’s official website. “In the end, we felt that we had reached that point where we needed to go in a different direction.”
Ironically, Cleveland’s pitching is largely responsible for the last two victories. On Thursday, Ubaldo Jimenez struck out a season-high 10 in six-plus innings for his first win in more than a month.
Jason Donald, recalled after Travis Hafner was placed on the disabled list Thursday, homered and drove in two runs.
“The last two weeks have been really tough,” Jimenez said. “Getting a couple wins in a row means a lot.”
Cleveland hasn’t won three straight since July 3-5 and extending its current run could be difficult against Buchholz (9-3, 4.48 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA over his last four starts.
The right-hander was in position to win last Saturday against Minnesota after giving up one unearned run in seven innings, but Boston suffered a 6-4 loss.
“I mean, it’s not about me getting the win - it’s about the team win,” he said. “Things happen where one-run leads, they don’t hold up all the time.”
Buchholz is 1-1 with a 5.32 ERA in four starts against the Indians. He allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-5 victory on May 11.
He takes the mound for the struggling Red Sox (55-58), who have lost three straight and seven of nine.
Adrian Gonzalez, batting .469 over his last 13 games, hit a two-run homer, but the Red Sox went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
“A lot of things I thought didn’t work out tonight, but they will (Friday),” manager Bobby Valentine said.
Like the Indians, the Red Sox’s pitching staff has stumbled. The starters are 3-10 with a 5.82 ERA over the last 20 games, which Boston is 7-13 in.
The Red Sox will try to provide some support for Buchholz against Chris Seddon (0-0, 7.71), who is making his second start of the season.
Seddon gave up four runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 10-8, 10-inning loss to Detroit on Sunday.
The left-hander also made a relief appearance Tuesday, retiring the one batter he faced on one pitch.
Seddon is 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA as a starter for three different teams. He faced the Red Sox three times as a reliever in 2010 with Seattle, pitching 4 2-3 hitless innings.