With the playoffs right around the corner, the Boston Red Sox are in position to duke it out against last season’s American League champions, the Cleveland Indians.
The Indians, who swept the BoSox in last season’s ALDS, are a terrifying postseason. Why? Well, they have dangerous players and there hungry to get back to the World Series for some unfinished business.
As we know, offense gets you to the playoffs, but defense and pitching win you championships.
Defensively, the Indians are one of the best teams in baseball. Their pitching staff has dominated the American League this year behind the arms of Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber. Carrasco and Bauer are tied for third in the American League with 13 wins each and not to mention Kluber has the fourth best ERA (2.63) in all of baseball. Their closer, Cody Allen, has been a rock late in games, coverting 21 of 24 saves on the season. Andrew Miller, who has been out since Aug. 21 (knee) was throwing to the tune of a 1.65 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 54.2 innings.
The Indians also have a strong offense riddled with power hitters such as Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce, the right fielder who was acquired from the New York Mets. The two have combined to hit 63 home runs. Francisco Lindor has been another threat at the plate, batting .268 with 24 home runs. Third baseman Jose Ramirez is hitting .300 with 20 home runs and 62 driven in. The bat of first baseman Carlos Santana has provided 21 dingers and 69 runs batted in. Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley, who will presumibly big parts of the Indians lineup, remain sidelined.
This team can play on both sides of the ball and they have an experienced manager in Terry Francona. Most of this team has returned from last years squad so the postseason experience is present in the dug out.
On the season, Boston beat them four times and lost just twice, but by no means will John Farrell’s squad be able to walk by them come post season. It will be a challenge if the two teams were to meet up, but an interesting series none the less.
If the two square off in the postseason, it will be a sight to behold. Sale-Reed-Kimbrel vs. Kluber-Miller-Allen. Red Sox ace Chris Sale is going to have to figure out how to pitch against the Tribe if Boston is going to have any shot.