BOSTON (CBS) — While the Texas Rangers are waiting to learn who their opponent will be in the ALDS, the Red Sox and Indians are already preparing themselves for their postseason clash.
The Red Sox will head to Cleveland on Tuesday for the best-of-five series, with 22-game winner Rick Porcello set to take the hill in Game 1 on Thursday night. Porcello has been Boston’s most consistent starter all season, and could very well bring home the AL’s Cy Young award when the season comes to an end.
The Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Adam Jones Show on Monday night to discuss the upcoming series, and said going with Porcello in Game 1 was a “no-brainer” for manager John Farrell. And if the situation arises where the Red Sox need to turn to Porcello again on short rest, it’s an opportunity Farrell should take advantage of.
“I would if they’re down, especially if he has a good outing [in Game 1],” said Mastrodonato. “He has a 3.35 ERA against Cleveland. If you’re down and really need a game, this guy has been good for you all year. If he has a great Game 1 start and looks sharp against them, and if you’re in a situation in Game 4 where you need a win, I would absolutely bring him back.”
Farrell seemed to shoot that notion down, wanting to use all four of his starters in the series if necessary.
“He basically said it’s not going to happen unless there are all these circumstances that are unforeseen,” Mastrodonato explained. “It sounds like he’s not leaning that way and wants to use all four of his starters in this series. But Farrell has been quick on the trigger all year with all his moves. If they go down and really need to win that game, I wouldn’t be surprised if he changes his mind.”
It’s unfortunate the Red Sox have to travel to Cleveland to start the series, a product of them letting up in the regular season’s final week. Boston dropped five of their last six games, and could have made life much more difficult for the Indians had they put in a better effort.
“They put themselves in a bad position by taking their foot off the gas in New York, and they’ve played some sloppy baseball over the last six games,” said Mastrodonato. “It just felt like they took their foot off the gas pedal, and you can’t do that in a situation like this. Cleveland is such a good home team.”
In losing to the Blue Jays on Sunday, the Red Sox kept the Indians from having to play a make-up came with the Detroit Tigers to determine the AL’s final Wild Card spot.
“You lose your home field advantage and give them their four days off, because they would have had to play [on Monday] in Detroit, then fly back to Cleveland. It would have put them at such a big advantage against a team they already should probably kick the crap out of, but now you’re giving them a head start,” said Mastrodonato. “I think they missed a chance to put themselves in a great position.”
Mastrondonato and Jones also discussed the struggles of closer Craig Kimbrel, and whether he’ll be on a short leash this postseason, as well as commisioner Rob Manfred’s comments on David Ortiz. Listen to the full podcast below: