Take Two – Tribe and Red Sox Try Again for ALDS Game 3
Bob Toth | On 10, Oct 2016
While LeBron James reminded Indians fans on Friday that it was always Cleveland against the world, on Sunday, the storyline was supposed to be Cleveland against Boston on two major sports fronts as the NFL’s Browns hosted the Patriots while the Red Sox were supposed to hold Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Indians from Fenway Park.
Boston got one win with an easy Patriots victory over the Browns, while Mother Nature claimed the other as rain postponed the third game of the ALDS.
The two clubs will try to play again on Monday, with the pitching probables bumping back a day. If the series extends beyond Monday with a Red Sox win, Game 4 will take place on Tuesday on what was supposed to be a potential travel day for the two clubs back to Cleveland.
GAME TIMES AND PITCHING PROBABLES
Thursday, 10/6/16 – Cleveland 5, Boston 4
Friday, 10/7/16 – Cleveland 6, Boston 0
Sunday, 10/9/16 – POSTPONED
Monday, 10/10/16 (6:00 PM ET in BOS) – RHP Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40 ERA) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (8-10, 4.78)
Tuesday, 10/11/16* (2:00 PM ET in BOS) – RHP Trevor Bauer (0-0, 5.79 in ALDS) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (0-1, 10.38 in ALDS)
Wednesday, 10/12/16* (8:00 PM ET in CLE) – RHP Corey Kluber (1-0, 0.00 in ALDS) vs. TBD
TV (all games) – TBS; CNN en Espanol
Radio (all games) – Indians Radio Network; WEEI 93.7 FM, ESPN Radio (Boston)
FENWAY FAVORABLE TO RED SOX OFFENSE
No American League team was better at home than the Red Sox, at least when it came to offensive production. They were second in all of baseball with 477 runs scored at home at Fenway Park in 81 contests while hitting a robust .300 with a .365 on-base percentage and .492 slugging percentage, all three of which were top marks among Junior Circuit squads.
While in the past, they may have relied quite a bit on the long ball to produce their runs, they were seventh overall in home homers this season with 102, just three more than the Indians hit at Progressive Field. The Sox made up for that home run rate with 209 doubles, tops in baseball (20 more than Colorado and 26 more than the Indians in third place).
The Indians were also a top home club, as they were second in the AL in triple slash numbers with a .288/.359/.469 line.
FENWAY FAVORABLE TO OTHER OFFENSES, TOO
While the Red Sox certainly made good use of their high-powered offense in their friendly confines, so too did other teams. The Red Sox as a staff finished 13th in the AL with a 4.30 ERA and were 12th with a 1.33 WHIP. Boston had the fifth-best home record in the AL at 47-34, but their pitchers allowed a .260 batting average against, tied for third-worst in the league, and a .307 BABIP, second-highest in the league.
How the park plays will be the key on Monday. The Indians had the worst batting average (.236), second-worst on-base percentage (.300), and third-worst slugging marks (.391) in the league on the road. It led to the third-fewest runs scored (325) in the league away from home, helping to illustrate the importance of home field advantage for the Indians this postseason.
BUCHHOLZ BOUNCES BACK
Buchholz will have to play the hero for the Red Sox on Monday against his old college teammate Tomlin. The 32-year-old had a rough season overall, including several trips back and forth from the starting rotation to the bullpen, but he ended his season strong with a 3-0 record in five September starts with a 3.14 ERA. Four of those outings were quality starts, including a one-hit effort in six innings against the New York Yankees to close out his regular season.
Buchholz is 2-2 with a 4.85 ERA and 1.20 WHIP lifetime in seven starts against the Indians in the regular season. He had not faced the Tribe since 2012 coming into the season, but made two starts against them in 2016, going 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA and 1.80 WHIP.
He throws a mix of fastballs, a changeup, and a curveball, but the latter gave him problems this season. Opposing hitters batted .355 off of the pitch and drew ten walks against seven strikeouts. His change, however, held the opposition to a .215 average while piling up 33 strikeouts and just two walks.
TOMLIN TURNS IT AROUND
Like Buchholz, Tomlin had some struggles during the season and found himself removed from the starting rotation for a stretch of time, but his stay in a relief role was far shorter than that of his old college teammate.
Tomlin ran into trouble late in July, but the issues were even more pronounced in August when he went 0-5 in six starts with an 11.48 ERA and 1.95 WHIP, allowing ten home runs in the month. In September, including his one relief appearance, he went 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 0.79 WHIP, winning a spot in the Indians playoff rotation.
The right-hander made a quality start against the Red Sox this season but took the loss, despite going seven and two-thirds innings. He allowed three runs, gave up seven hits, and struck out three, but two of the hits were home runs.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Jackie Bradley Jr. is 3-for-7 (.429) in his career with a solo homer off of Tomlin. Xander Bogaerts (.333), Brock Holt (.333), and Dustin Pedroia (.294) have hit well against Tomlin, but the nine hits combined between the three have just been singles.
With Tomlin’s tendencies to give up home runs, it is actually a little surprising that David Ortiz has not been more successful against Tomlin. In 18 trips to the plate against the Indians right-hander, he has just three hits. Less surprising, all three of them have left the yard.
Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis each have good numbers against Buchholz. The pair is 4-for-8 (.500) each against the righty with five extra bases between the two of them. Santana has a pair of doubles and a homer while driving in four runs and has a .636 on-base percentage off of him. Kipnis has doubled and homered off of Buchholz while knocking in four. He has a .600 OBP against the Boston starter.
TUESDAY’S GAME 4, IF NECESSARY
A Boston win will force Game 4 on Tuesday at 2:00 PM ET.
The Red Sox could start their young left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who was initially in line for the nod, but the team appears more inclined to send the right-handed Porcello to the mound. The veteran, coming off of a 22-win season for the Red Sox in his second year with the club, was charged with five runs on six hits in four and one-third innings in his Game 1 start. He struck out six and did not walk anybody, but he was hurt by three home runs in the third inning that powered the Indians to a victory.
If the teams need to meet up for Game 4, Bauer will get to pitch on regular rest instead of on short rest. The Indians bullpen behind him, if needed, will also be well rested after Corey Kluber allowed two of the three regular back end arms to rest in his strong start in Cleveland’s Game 2 win. Bauer threw 78 pitches in his first career postseason start last Thursday, working four and two-thirds innings before turning the game over to the ‘pen. He allowed three runs on six hits, did not walk a batter, and struck out six.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images