The Indians and Red Sox are paired up in one of this year’s American League Division Series matchups. At 94-67, the Tribe finished with the second-best record in the AL, while the Red Sox 93-69 record was good for third. The best-of-five series begins Thursday night at Progressive Field, let’s take a look at the series:
Series Schedule and Probable Pitchers
Game 1: Thursday, 10/6 at 8:00 PM on TBS at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio (Bauer, 12-8,4.26 ERA vs. Porcello, 22-4, 3.15 ERA)
Game 2: Friday, 10/7 at 4:30 PM on TBS at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio (Kluber, 18-9, 3.14 ERA vs. Price, 17-9, 3.99 ERA)
Game 3: Sunday, 10/9 at 4:00 PM on TBS at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts (Tomlin, 13-9, 4.40 ERA vs. Buchholz, 8-10, 4.78 ERA)
Game 4: Monday, 10/10 on TBS at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts (Bauer, 12-8, 4.26 ERA vs. Rodriguez, 22-3, 4.71 ERA) (if necessary)
Game 5: Wednesday, 10/12 on TBS at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio (Kluber, 18-9, 3.14 ERA vs. Porcello, 22-3, 3.15 ERA) (if necessary)
Why The Indians Will Win
With home-field advantage, the Cleveland Indians will benefit from the friendly crowd that carried them to a 53-28 record at Progressive Field this year. Examining the season totals, the Indians finished 1.5 games better than the Red Sox, didn’t score quite as many runs as Boston’s top-ranked offense (5.4 runs per game for BOS, 4.8 for CLE), but did pitch better (Indians team 3.86 ERA, Red Sox 4.00). While the two teams match up well on paper, the x-factor will be Indians manager Terry Francona. He brought Boston two World Series Championships in 2004 and 2007, and will turn the tables this season to send the Red Sox off to an early offseason.
Why The Indians Will Lose
Although the Indians pitched better than the Red Sox this year, there are a couple big names that will be missing from the rotation as the playoffs begin. Both Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco suffered late-season injuries that will have them watching from the dugout during the ALDS. With pitching and defense being such big factors in the MLB postseason, the Red Sox will be at a definite advantage as far as health is concerned. Although Trevor Bauer has had a very good year and Josh Tomlin has shown stretches of effectiveness, it won’t be enough to overpower the terrific offense of the Boston Red Sox.
The Indians had the best bullpen in the American League during the second half, and they’re going to need it with the three-man rotation they’re planning on deploying in the first round of the playoffs. The Royals experienced success last year with a dominant bullpen, and the Indians are going to try a similar plan this year. With Corey Kluber potentially starting two games, I’m pretty comfortable counting those as Tribe victories. That leaves one game of the remaining three that the Indians will need a good start coupled with that strong bullpen to come away with a win. I think they can do that.