The Indians were able to finish out the regular season on a high note as they were able to steal home field advantage away from the Red Sox in the ALDS. It may prove to be all for not as the series gets started.
The Red Sox come to Cleveland with one of the best lineups, if not the best in the postseason. There is Mookie Betts who I consider the AL MVP with fellow teammate David Ortiz in a close second, especially the way the team closed out the division in September. As well Dustin Pedroia came into the season fully healthy and has had a resurgence year in bring the Red Sox back to relevance. Their pitching has began to show up as well. Rick Porcello who was acquired in the Yoenis Cespedes trade has had a remarkable bounce back year and has put himself as the front runner for the Cy Young award. David Price has started to find his rhythm these last two months as he looks like his old self from years past now. I think the depth of the Red Sox lineup will give them the advantage in this series, especially with Cleveland missing two of their main rotation from the regular season. After Porcello and Price it gets a little interesting in where the Red Sox will turn. Clay Bucholz has made multiple trips to the bullpen this year and Eduardo Rodriguez hasn’t panned out quite as everyone would have hoped this year.
Cleveland is missing both Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco who suffered injuries towards the end of the 2016 campaign. Corey Kluber also was hurt in his last start but should be fine to pitch in the ALDS as he will start game two of this series. The strength of the Indians is their bullpen. With the addition of Andrew Miller he pairs well with Cody Allen and creates a shutdown back half as Miller can pitch multiple innings. In reality, the Indians starters just need to survive at least 6 innings and hand the ball off to the bullpen. Essentially teams have copied how the Royals won the World Series last year and it got the Indians into the playoffs and gives them a legitimate shot to make it there. The question that is posed is their offense. I’m not entirely sold on them creating runs in a fashion that will give them a lead during this series. Jose Ramirez leads the team with an average of .312 while Mike Napoli has had another resurgence year while hitting 34 home runs for the Indians. Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez drive this offense and they bat 3 and 5 respectively. These two will need to continue their promising 2016 campaigns into the postseason and hope their teammates around them step up in order to give them a chance at making the ALCS.
I have the Red Sox in 4. Their pitching will step up as they head home up 2, and their hitting takes care of the rest in Boston.