Cleveland (2-0) at Boston (0-2)
When: Monday, October 10th 2016
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Time: 6:05 ET | TV: TBS
The Cleveland Indians will look to complete a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox and advance to the ALCS on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park. An effective bullpen and a solid outing from ace Corey Kluber have the Red Sox on the brink of an early elimination. Relievers Andrew Miller and Cody Allen each threw a season-high 40 pitches in a 5-4 Game 1 victory and Kluber, who missed time at the end of the season with a quad injury, pitched seven strong innings in Game 2’s 6-0 triumph. The Red Sox led the league in runs scored and batting average during the regular season but struck out 22 times in the first two games and watched stars Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. go a combined 4-for-36. Red Sox 3B Brock Holt recorded one of the team’s three hits in Game 2 and is 4-for-8 in the series. Indians 3B Jose Ramirez, who finished seventh in the AL in batting average behind Betts, Pedroia and Ortiz in the regular season, is 4-for-7 in the series. Jason Kipnis is also 4-for-7 in the series for Cleveland and leads the team with seven total bases. Boston has twice recovered from 2-0 deficits after losing the first two on the road to win an ALDS series – 2003 against Oakland and 1999 against Cleveland.
Pitchers: Indians – Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40 ERA) | Red Sox – Clay Buchholz (8-10, 4.78)
Josh Tomlin was not on track to start a postseason game for Cleveland when he was struggling to get outs in August. He was briefly demoted to the bullpen, but a strong finish and injuries to Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar pushed him up to this Game 3 start. Tomlin posted a 1.75 ERA in his final four appearances during the regular season, capped by a win at Kansas City that helped guarantee the Indians homefield advantage in the ALDS. Tomlin is 2-3 with a 5.49 ERA in seven career games (six starts) against Boston, including a loss on August 15th when he allowed three runs in 7.2 innings.
Clay Buchholz also struggled in the rotation and was also demoted to the bullpen for a short time. A strong finish to the season forced the Red Sox to put him back into the postseason rotation. He allowed three runs and 11 hits in 19 innings over his final three regular-season starts. Buchholz is 2-2 with a 4.85 ERA in seven career starts against Cleveland but struggled in two starts this season, allowing a combined nine runs (eight earned) and seven walks in 10 innings.
Cleveland is playing with a lot of confidence right now and I don’t trust Buchholz at all. I think Cleveland will get to him early and force the Red Sox to go the bullpen. Tomlin seems to have righted the ship over the last month and I think he’ll keep the Boston bats in check.
Pick: Indians +122