Fresh off their three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway, the Red Sox hit the road looking to make it eighth straight wins since they finally broke their 10-game losing skid, with their first stop being in Cleveland for their first meeting of the season against the Indians.
With a win on Monday, the Sox would become the first team in major league history to win eight straight games immediately following a double digit losing streak, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The last team to win seven straight after losing 10 or more in a row was the 1989 Tigers.
John Lackey is coming off back-to-back strong starts and hasn’t allowed a run since May 17 against the Tigers; this season he’s 6-3 with a 3.27 ERA. He pitched a gem in his last outing, going 6.1 innings on May 28 against the Atlanta Braves, allowing no runs on eight hits with no walks and nine strikeouts. It was the third time this season he struck out 9+ batters and issues no walks.
Lackey is very familiar with the Indians, making 17 career starts against them and holds a 7-7 record with a 3.98 ERA in those outings. He last pitched against Cleveland in 2013, allowing no earned runs in seven innings on two hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.
The three Indians hitters that have faced Lackey the most are Jason Giambi, Asdrubal Cabrera, and David Murphy, and are also the only three to have double digit plate appearances against him. Giambi is hitting .318 with three homers and seven RBIs in 44 at bats against Lackey; Cabrera had four hits in 23 at bats; and Murphy has seven hits in 19 at bats.
Former Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson, who played for the Sox from 2008-09, gets the start for Cleveland after having a rough first two months for the last-place Indians, going 2-4 with a 5.21 ERA. His last start on May 27 saw him go three innings against the White Sox, allowing one run on four hits, before an almost two-hour rain delay cut his start short.
Masterson has started seven games against the Red Sox in his career, going 3-3 with a 4.23 ERA, including two losses last season. Like Lackey against the Tribe, only three Red Sox hitters have faced Masterson more than 10 times in their careers: A.J. Pierzynski, Dustin Pedroia, and David Ortiz. Pierzynksi has hit very well against Masterson, going 14-for-36 with an OBP of .395, while Pedroia and Ortiz each have four hits in 19 and 15 at bats against him, respectively.