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Cleveland Indians vs Boston Red Sox

ALDS

(Best of 5)

Schedule

Date                 Venue/Time        TV         Starters

Thu Oct. 6      @ Cle 8:08 p.m.     TBS     Porcello vs. Bauer

Fri Oct. 7        @ Cle 4:38 p.m.     TBS     Price vs. Kluber

Sun Oct. 9      @ Bos 4:08 p.m.    TBS    Tomlin vs. Buchholz

Mon Oct. 10     @ Cle TBD            TBS

Wed Oct. 12     @ Bos TBD           TBS

Head-to-Head

Boston led the 2016 season series 4-2. The Red Sox went 2-1 at home and on the road vs Cleveland. Boston outscored the Indians 31-18. The Red Sox took the last 3 meetings by a combined score of 17-5.

Down the Stretch

Cleveland rode a three-game winning streak into the playoffs. They finished the season 53-28 at home, tied with Texas for the AL best record.  The Indians have activated C Yan Gomes from the 60-day DL and placed RHP Carlos Carrasco on the 60-day DL.

DH Carlos Santana has not gone yard since Sept. 22 and has just 4 RBI’s in the last 9 games.

SP Corey Kluber is 11-1 since July 31st.

RP Cody Allen led Cleveland with 32 saves, with three blown, none since Aug. 17th.

Former Red Sox utility man Mike Napoli led the Indians with 101 RBI’s. Nap appeared in 150 games for Cleveland. His last jack came on Sept 16th vs Detroit. Against the Red Sox this past season he went 2-18 and belted 1 HR. Napoli struck out 12 times vs Red Sox pitchers.

Boston went 46-35 on the road, the best in the AL and 2nd best in all of MLB. They finished with the most runs scored (878) and 2nd highest run differential plus +184 (ChiC plus +252).

Heading into the playoffs Boston was 5-5 in their last 10 games played, including two-straight losses to Toronto at Fenway.

John Farrell has been under fire for much of the season and for the most part, the heat was brought on by himself. The bull pen has been misused for the better part of two seasons and questionable managerial decisions late in the season could come back to bite him should the Sox exit early. Boston easily could have been hosting round one as opposed to travelling.

Mookie Betts will be in the MVP conversation soon enough. Against the “Tribe” Betts went 8-24 and bashed 3 HR’s. He had five hits in his last 5 games with no K’s and scored 3 runs.

David Ortiz in his last season is having himself a fantastic year. He could play a heavy factor in this series. Ortiz went yard 4 times in seven-games against Cleveland in 2016.

The Skip’s

Farrell and Terry Francona are close having worked together in Boston and winning 2 World Series together. Francona is a mastermind when it comes to using his bullpen, which has been the case this season. Farrell, despite two back-to-back finishes in the AL East basement has rallied his clubhouse and put forth a 93-win season and once again finished on top of the Al East.

Francona and the Indians took the Central division easily, 8 games ahead of Detroit and finished with 94 victories.

Outlook

This series could be over in 3 or go the distance. Both teams have devastatingly good lineup’s and play solid defense. Boston finished with an .987 fielding percentage to Cleveland’s .985.

Cleveland pitchers combined for a 3.84 ERA, just ahead of Boston at 4.00.

The Red Sox and Indians have equal depth but it’s all in how a manager uses it. Francona is a mastermind in this department and therefore, I am giving the edge to the Indians in this series.

Cleveland 3-2