Who will the Red Sox face in the ALDS? Wouldn’t it be really cool if the Red Sox played the Indians? It would be great to have Terry Francona back in Fenway Park. Everyone likes Terry. All of this is a bit too fairy tale ending, right? Still it would be nice, who doesn’t like a good story.
Ultimately, the question is: do we really want to face the Rays…again? Boston only played one series against the Indians and we won three of the four games we played. I like those odds better than I like our record against Tampa. The Red Sox are 12-21 against the Rays. Then again, there is the “devil you know versus the devil you do not know” theory. Boston does not know Cleveland that well. The Red Sox only played one four-game series with the Indians. The Sox met the Tampa 21 times over the course of the regular season.
We do not have the depth of experience with Cleveland that we do with Tampa. I’m nervous about both squads pitching. Monday night Tampa’s David Price was lights out against the Texas Rangers, only allowing six hits and two runs. He also had the run support he needed. Meanwhile, Cleveland has two red-hot starting pitchers in Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez. The bullpen and closer are on par with what Tampa brings to the table.
Who is it the Red Sox will face in the American League Division Series, and does it really matter when the numbers and make-up of the teams are nearly identical? No matter whom the Red Sox play, our pitching depth does not look great. Yes, we have four of the strongest starters we may have ever had, but is starting pitching enough? The trouble lies in the middle innings with restricted access to pitchers from the minors. John Farrell must settle on the best guys the Sox have to fill those middle innings. Run support is another issue. Tampa surely has it with Evan Longoria, James Loney, and Yunel Escobar. Cleveland surely has something with Nick Swisher, Carlos Santana and even Mike Aviles. What do the Red Sox have? Well, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester can really pitch if their heads are right, while David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, provide most of the run support. Other batters, like Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew in a clutch, chip in, and thus we pull out wins. The question remains, is this enough to get us through the American League Division Series?
All season long this Red Sox team has shown fans that if there is a will there is a way. Let’s hope that proves true in the post season.