The Red Sox simply own October. They might not have gotten into the MLB playoffs, or anywhere close for that matter, the past two years but since the turn of the Century – when they get into the dance, they go far.
In 2003 they went to Game 7 of the ALCS, in 2004 they won the whole thing, in 2005 they lost in the ALDS, in 2007 they won the whole thing, in 2008 they went to Game 7 of the ALCS, in 2009 they lost in the ALDS and in 2013 they won the whole thing. That’s a pretty good track record.
This year’s playoff field is wide open, so the Red Sox have as good a shot as anyone to get to the World Series and win it. According to Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, the Sox have the third best odds of winning it all this year at 6-1. Only the Cubs (7-4) and Rangers (5-1) have better odds. The Sox’ opponent in the ALDS, the Cleveland Indians, have 14-1 odds to capture the Commissioner’s Trophy.
Cleveland will begin to attempt to buck those odds beginning Thursday in Game 1 (8 p.m., TBS) of an ALDS against the Sox. The Indians have settled on Trevor Bauer to start Game 1 as their starting rotation is in shambles due to major injuries. Bauer has just a 12-8 record this season with a 4.26 ERA, and he’s been incredibly shaky lately as he has a 7.28 ERA over his last five starts.
The Red Sox do not have anywhere near the rotation issues the Tribe do, and they will start AL Cy Young favorite Rick Porcello (22-4, 3.15 ERA) at Progressive Field on Thursday. Porcello hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a game since July 24, so he should be primed to shut down Cleveland’s lineup.
The Indians can manufacture runs, though, as they finished second, behind the Red Sox, with 777 runs in the regular season. Cleveland, however, goes about scoring its runs in an entirely different fashion than the Sox as it relies on a National League style of play. The Indians led the AL in stolen bases this season with 125.
The Indians’ Rajai Davis is one of the most lethal weapons in baseball on the base paths as he swiped 43 bags this season – easily the most in the AL.