The Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox won 94 and 93 games, respectively, this season, so you’d think it would be a fairly even matchup heading into the ALDS.
The Indians’ pitching staff has been decimated by injuries, and the Red Sox have the best offense in baseball, as David Ortiz, Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez all finished with 30+ homers and 110+ RBIs.
“On paper, it doesn’t look like a great matchup for the Indians, especially with he state of their pitching staff with (Danny) Salazar out, with (Carlos) Carrasco out and with (Corey) Kluber trying to pitch through a hamstring injury later in the series,” Boston.com sports columnist and Boston Globe writer Chad Finn said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “The Red Sox hammer right-handed pitching. They hammer mediocre right-handed pithing even more so. You’ve got guys like (Josh) Tomlin who are going to be in there and Trevor Bauer pitching Game 1. That series is set up for the Red Sox to win the first game big with Rick Porcello on the mound for them. And if they do win that game, it feels like it could go their way pretty quickly. If Cleveland steals Game 1, then the Red Sox maybe have something to think about a little bit, but I think their offense is the biggest advantage anybody has in this series, and it’ll probably play out that way.”
Porcello will start Game 1 on Thursday, David Price will start in Game 2 on Friday and Clay Buchholz will get the nod in Game 3 when the series shifts to Fenway Park. Buchholz, who has struggled with consistency, went 5-1 with a 3.22 ERA after the All-Star break.
“He’s had these stretches of dominance but they’re always followed by injury or bizarre ineffectiveness,” Finn said. “He seems to be the kind of guy who needs everything to be perfect for him to succeed. If it’s not perfect, if he doesn’t feel well, if he doesn’t feel great about the lineup he’s pithing against, things tend to go wrong. But when they go right, he’s really good. He’s got a $13 million option next year. That would have sounded absurd to pick up in May. I think it’s very likely that it happens now.”
Game 1 begins Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.