BOSTON (CBS) — The regular season is in the books. The farewell ceremonies for David Ortiz are over. Now, it’s time for playoff baseball.
The Red Sox finished with the third-best record in the American League and will take on the Indians in the American League Divisional Series starting Thursday in Cleveland. Boston won the season series 4-2, and took two of their three games in Cleveland.
They bring the best offense in baseball into the playoffs against an injury-riddled Cleveland rotation, which is without 11-game winners Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco. The Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley joined Dan Roche on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final on Sunday night to preview the upcoming ALDS, and said Boston’s offense will carry them into the ALCS.
“I like the fact they have a whole bunch of guys who can mash the ball. Betts, Ortiz, Pedroia, Bogaerts and Ramirez — there isn’t a cheap out in that lineup,” said Buckley. “You have to go back to the 2004 Red Sox or the 1977-79 Red Sox to see a team with this kind of offense.”
Even at the age of 40 and following a draining regular season, can we expect another epic performance out of Ortiz as he puts the finishing touches on his career?
“You can’t say no. I know he struggled the last few days and I think he may have been worn down. All the ceremonies and speeches and proclamations – those are done now. They have three days off, he can work on his swing and get some rest. If history has taught us anything, you can’t count David Ortiz out in the playoffs,” said Buckley.
But while the offense is a beast, there are a few concerns when it comes to Boston’s quest for a fourth World Series title in the last 12 years. They didn’t play particularly well over the final week of the season, dropping five of their last six games, costing them a chance at home field advantage against Cleveland.
Buckley is also concerned about a pair of arms on the Boston pitching staff.
“The fact that David Price pitched a very bad game at Yankee Stadium [is a concern]. That was a real bad game; six runs off 12 hits, three home runs. That’s not a good outing,” Buckley said of Price, who has yet to earn a postseason victory as a starter.
But the biggest concern may be at the back of the bullpen, with closer Craig Kimbrel surrendering five runs off a hit and six walks over his last three outings.
“The biggest problem I have is Kimbrel, who has been a disaster the last couple of weeks,” said Buckley.
With all of that said, Buckely still likes Boston to move on to the ALCS.
“I like the Red Sox, and not because I like the Red Sox but because I don’t like the Indians. They’ve lost two, maybe three, starters for the postseason,” he said. “That’s unfortunate, because Cleveland is a good baseball town that has been struggling with all the unemployment, and I’d love to see them play some great postseason baseball. I just don’t think they have the numbers right now.”
Check out the full segment in the video above, and tune in to WBZ-TV’s Sports Final every Sunday night at 11:35pm!