Indians Break out the Brooms; Sweep Sox in ALDS
Despite losing five of their last six games and home field advantage to end the regular season, the American League East Champion Boston Red Sox felt confident heading into the playoffs, but were unable to get the job done in a American League Division Series sweep by the American League Central Champion Cleveland Indians.
The Red Sox had reasons to be optimistic in the ALDS. The Indians had two talented starters, Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, who were unable to pitch, and their ace Corey Kluber was reportedly pitching through an injury. Trevor Bauer, Kluber, and Josh Tomlin were scheduled to start for Cleveland, countered by Rick Porcello, David Price, and Clay Buchholz for Boston. Put the healthier rotation in perspective with the explosive Red Sox lineup, which was the best in the majors in almost every offensive statistical category in the regular season, and it’s understandable that many analysts and fans predicted the Sox would win the series in three games.
The Red Sox needed to do two key things in order to win the ALDS: pitch well and have success against the Indians’ starting pitchers before reliever Andrew Miller could come in and dominate in the later innings.
Unfortunately for Boston, they could not fulfill either requirement. Porcello, Price, and Buchholz all failed to pitch beyond the fifth inning, combining for a 9.46 ERA and a .354 opponent average on 12 runs, 18 hits, and four home runs. Meanwhile, the offense, which was praised in the regular season for hitting well throughout the order, got very little production from its 2, 3, and 4 hitters: Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, and David Ortiz. They combined for a .159 batting average, five hits, one run batted in, and a .547 on-base plus slugging percentage.
Andrew Miller did exactly what was asked of him in Games 1 and 3 for Cleveland, holding the Sox to a .154 batting average on no runs, two hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts