BOSTON — Chris Sale is dominating on the mound this season, to the tune of a 13-4 record, a 2.37 ERA and 211 strikeouts in 148 1/3 innings.
On Tuesday night, the Boston Red Sox left-hander will attempt to beat a team he has not been able to dominate during his career when he takes on the Cleveland Indians in the second game of a three-game series at Fenway Park.
Sale is 82-47 with a 2.93 ERA lifetime against the other teams in the major leagues. However, he is just 5-7 with a 4.07 in 27 career appearances (16 starts) against Cleveland, a division rival when Sale was with the Chicago White Sox.
Last season, Sale defeated the Indians as part of his 9-0 start. But then on May 24, 2016, he was raked for seven hits and six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings to take his first loss of the season.
His mound opponent Tuesday night will be Carlos Carrasco (10-4, 3.58 ERA). The Cleveland right-hander is winless in his past three starts after a stretch of five consecutive winning decisions.
Carrasco, who missed last year’s postseason — including the Indians three-game American League Division Series sweep of the Red Sox — with a fractured right hand, failed to win his last two times out despite allowing two earned runs in six innings in both games.
He has been a road warrior this season, entering the Tuesday start 7-2 with a 2.87 ERA away from home.
Carrasco is 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA in five career games (three starts) against Boston.
The Indians are back at Fenway Park for the first time since completing the playoff sweep. Boston won 6-2 on Monday night, remaining a half-game behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East, while the Indians stayed two games in front of the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central.
The Red Sox capped a 13-14 July by winning two of the final three games.
“Obviously the record is not something we’re certainly pleased with,” Boston manager John Farrell said after the Monday game. “You go back and … there’s been a lot of frustration because there’s been a number of games where it’s been one swing of the bat or one pitch that has been the deciding factor inside of games.”
However, the manager thinks the team was energized by the arrival of veteran Eduardo Nunez and rookie Rafael Devers, and setup man Addison Reed, acquired from the New York Mets Monday, is due to join the team Tuesday.
The Indians have lost two straight after winning nine in a row. On Monday, they got a second straight shaky outing from starter Mike Clevinger.
“It’s baseball. There’s bad times and good times,” said Clevinger, who allowed five runs in three-plus innings. “I think this is a really good team and we’ll be just fine.”
The Indians have some good numbers against Sale. Francisco Lindor is 8-for-16 (.500), Edwin Encarnacion 5-for-13 (.385), Jose Ramirez 5-for-14 (.357) and Carlos Santana 12-for-30 (.300) with a homer. But on the flip side, Austin Jackson is a woeful 2-for-33 (.061) with 15 strikeouts and Michael Brantley 6-for-33 (.182) with 12 strikeouts.
Sale’s 211 K’s through July are the most for any pitcher since 2002, when Randy Johnson had 215 and Curt Schilling had 212.
Only three Red Sox have more than four at-bats against Carrasco. Dustin Pedroia, who missed his third straight game Monday night and could be headed for the disabled list due to a sore left knee, is 4-for-9 (.444), Mitch Moreland 4-for-10 (.400) with two homers, and Nunez 2-for-10 (.200).