The good news is that Cleveland doesn’t appear on the schedule again this season. Unfortunately, they are a likely postseason opponent for the Red Sox. Based on the current standings, Boston would be penciled in to face the Indians in the ALDS. At the moment their record would give them home-field advantage, an edge they didn’t have when the Tribe swept them out of the playoffs last year. It may not matter if this team has Sale’s number.
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We don’t know if David Price will be healthy enough to return in time for the postseason, but his playoff resume leaves us with little reason to have confidence in him. Rick Porcello doesn’t have a playoff win to his credit either and was rocked for five runs in his start against Cleveland in last year’s ALDS. That was coming off a Cy Young campaign, while Porcello hasn’t been nearly that caliber of pitcher this year. If Sale can’t be counted on to do his part, what chance do the Red Sox have in a playoff series against this Indians team? If we’re looking to Doug Fister to be the savior, we’re in big trouble.
Boston’s best bet is to catch Houston for the top spot in the AL. That would set them up to face the winner of the Wild Card matchup in the ALDS. With any luck, the Astros will knock off Cleveland. While Houston is the better team, they may be a better matchup for the Red Sox. The path to the World Series would be easier if Boston can avoid Cleveland.
Sale will eventually solve the puzzle that has been this Indians lineup. He’s too talented to be abused this much by any team. Let’s just hope that the need for adjustments waits until next season. Better to work through his issues in 2018 rather than when it matters most – on the postseason stage.