Win the pitching match-ups
A couple months ago the advantage would have tilted toward Cleveland’s rotation, as they once had arguably the league’s best trio of starters.
That’s no longer the case, with injuries to Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco ravaging Cleveland’s rotation. There had been some speculation that Salazar could return from a forearm injury to at least make a contribution out of the bullpen, but he’s not expected to be on the ALDS roster.
This leaves the Indians relying heavily on Corey Kluber, but given that he won’t start until Game 2, the opportunity to give their ace a second start in this series won’t come unless it goes to a full five games. Kluber is also working his way back from a quad injury that forced him to leave his last start, casting a sliver of doubt on his ability to regain his dominant form.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports Group
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
Trevor Bauer will start Game 1 and presumably be used on short rest for a potential Game 4 due to the team’s lack of depth in their decimated rotation. This is a tremendous advantage for Boston, as they will match him up with potential Cy Young front-runner Rick Porcello to kick off the series. Bauer started the season strong, but posted a 5.36 ERA after the break and owns a 4.73 ERA at home this season.
The other likely starter for Cleveland will be Josh Tomlin, another pitcher that failed to continue a promising start in the second half by posting a 5.59 ERA after the break. He doesn’t strike many batters out and gives up a lot of hard contact, allowing the second most home runs in the league with 36. That’s a bad formula against this lethal Red Sox lineup.
Boston had the league’s best pitching staff after the break, producing a collective 3.50 ERA. They are led by a pair of aces in Porcello and David Price that trump Cleveland’s only remaining ace. The loss of Steven Wright hurts, but Clay Buchholz and Eduardo Rodriguez finished the season much stronger than Cleveland’s back-end options. Based on the current state of these two rotations, the Red Sox have a clear advantage.