Boston finished the regular season at 93-69, winning the AL East by four games. Consequently, the Blue Jays and Orioles faced off in the AL Wild Card Game, with the Jays moving on to the next round. The Red Sox have virtually no injury problems heading into the playoffs, a luxury most teams don’t have. Consistent hitters like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts as well as power hitters like David Ortiz and Sandy Leon will lead the way offensively against Cleveland. The team can boast of one of their best rotations in years, which includes two aces in David Price and Rick Porcello. The Red Sox are serious contenders this year.
The Indians easily won the AL Central with a record of 94-67, topping the second-place Tigers by eight games. While the Red Sox have already won two championships in the last decade, the Indians have only made the postseason three times during that span and haven’t won a title since 1948. However, an intake of exciting young talent has led them close to the promised land for the first time in a long time. Youngsters like rookie outfielder Tyler Naquin and 22-year-old shortstop Francisco Lindor are a big reason why the Indians are contenders once again. Heavy hitters like Mike Napoli and Jose Ramirez add some extra pop to an already formidable lineup.
For the Red Sox, it’ll be the enigmatic Clay Buchholz making the start in the third ALDS game. From almost getting cut to having a serious resurgence late in the season, Buchholz’s play has been up and down all year. The Red Sox need him to step up on Sunday though, so he’ll have to bring his best stuff. On the season, his numbers read: 4.78 ERA, 8-10 record, and 93 strikeouts. These are anything but impressive, but Buchholz did have his fair share of injuries and rotational moves. He’s struggled when facing Cleveland this season though, giving up ten runs in 11 and 2/3 innings while compiling an 0-1 record in two starts. He’ll have to figure out this Indians lineup if the Red Sox are to win this game.
Josh Tomlin will start for the Indians in their first road game against the Red Sox in the playoffs. He started out the season very strong, but has faltered down the final stretch. In the end, he finished with a 4.40 ERA, 13-9 record, and 118 strikeouts. However, he’s won just twice in his last 11 starts, and experienced a streak of five straight losses in August. This season, he lost his only start against Boston, allowing three runs on seven hits in seven and two-thirds innings.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Clay Buchholz isn’t used to postseason play and is still incredibly inconsistent, but Tomlin still hasn’t broken out of his slump and he's facing the Sox on their home turf. A good choice would be to pick Boston to win this one 10-4.