Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Boston-Cleveland ALDS Preview



Players to watch

  • Cleveland has five players who have each collected at least 75 RBIs: Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, Mike Napoli, Jose Ramirez and Carlos Santana. Santana has hit well off Porcello and Price, batting a combined .305 with three homers and six RBIs off the Sox starters. 
  • Napoli, who played for the Red Sox from 2013 to 2015, hit .095 with 12 strikeouts against them this season. Kipnis, on the other hand, has a .311 career average against Boston with six homers and 15 RBIs in 28 games. 
  • David Ortiz led MLB in doubles (48), extra-base hits (87), slugging percentage (.620), and was tied for second in RBIs (127). He finished the season with a .401 on-base percentage, becoming the oldest player with at least a .401 OBP since Stan Musial in 1962. While Big Papi has been lights-out this season, there were indications late in the year that time could be catching up to the 40-year-old. He's batting just .150/.261/.300 over his last six games. 
  • Boston teammates Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia tied for second in the AL with a .318 batting average. Betts ranked fourth in the league with 113 RBIs, sixth in stolen bases (26), tied for second in runs scored (122) and second in hits (214). 

Key stats

  • From top to bottom, the Red Sox have one of the most potent lineups in baseball. The club led the majors in numerous categories, including runs (878), doubles (343), extra-base hits (576), average (.282), on-base percentage (.348) and slugging percentage (.461). 
  • The Indians ranked second among playoff teams in runs scored against left-handed pitching during the regular season and led the majors in doubles against southpaws. The Tribe bats could cause trouble for David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz, who will pitch for the Sox out of the bullpen.
  • Indians are 83-1 when leading after eight innings and are 49-2 at home when leading or tied after the seventh. Their bullpen owns a 3.45 ERA, the second-best in the AL. Much of the bullpen success can be attributed to Andrew Miller, who owns the third-best K:BB ratio (min. 70 IP) in MLB history (13.7). 
  • Bauer and Kluber each excel with their curveball, a pitch Ortiz posted a .500 slugging percentage on this season in the lower third of the zone. 

TV schedule

Thursday, Oct. 6:
ALDS Game 2 - Red Sox (Porcello, 22-4, 3.15 ERA) at Indians (Bauer, 12-8, 4.26 ERA), 8:08 p.m. | TV: TBS

Friday, Oct. 7
ALDS Game 2 - Red Sox (Price, 17-9, 3.99 ERA) at Indians (Kluber, 18-9, 3.14 ERA), 4:38 p.m. | TV: TBS

Sunday, Oct. 9
ALDS Game 3 - Indians (Josh Tomlin, 13-9, 4.40 ERA) at Red Sox (Clay Buchholz (8-10, 4.40 ERA),  4:08 p.m. | TV: TBS

Monday, Oct. 10
ALDS Game 4* - Indians at Red Sox | TV: TBS (time tba)

Wednesday, Oct. 12
ALDS Game 5* - Red Sox at Indians | TV: TBS (time tba)

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