Indians Sweep Red Sox in 2016 ALDS

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BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 10: Cody Allen #37 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after defeating the Boston Red Sox to win the American League Division Series on October 10, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

By Joshua Greenberg – Last Word On Baseball

The Boston Red Sox 2016 campaign came to an abrupt end Monday night, as the Cleveland Indians put the finishing touches on a dominant ALDS sweep. The AL Central champs out-pitched the AL East champs shaky rotation, and out-hit what had been the best offense in baseball. In the end, a teary-eyed David Oritz waived a final goodbye to the fans at Fenway Park, and the Indians turned their eyes toward their next opponent, the Toronto Blue Jays.

Indians Sweep Red Sox in 2016 ALDS

Game One: Indians 5, Red Sox 4

In the series opener, the two teams faced off in Cleveland in what turned out to be a slugfest. The Indians and Red Sox combined for six solo home runs, tying the record for most solo shots in a single ALDS game. Boston sent ace Rick Porcello, a Cy Young candidate, to the mound to oppose Trevor Bauer. Porcello started strong; after hitting the very first batter he faced, he seemed to settle in and struck out the side to end the first inning. The Red Sox then drew first blood when Hanley Ramirez doubled to score Dustin Pedroia. The Indians evened the score in the bottom of the second, as Lonnie Chisenhall singled in Jose Ramirez, but Boston regained the lead in the very next inning off an Andrew Benintendi homer.

However, from there, things unraveled for Porcello. In the bottom of the third, he allowed three home runs, first to Roberto Perez, then to Jason Kipnis, and finally to Francisco Lindor. While Procello did manage to work out of the inning, that was the beginning of the end for him. Sandy Leon added a solo blast of his own in the top of the fifth to make in a one run game, but Porcello then surrendered another run in the bottom of the inning to give Cleveland a five-three lead.

Porcello lasted just 4.1 innings. While his counterpart, Bauer, went only a third of an inning longer, the Red Sox offense didn’t have enough in it to overcome Cleveland’s bullpen. Brock Holt recorded the sixth home run of the game in the eighth off Bryan Shaw, but Cody Allen then closed the door, giving Cleveland a 5-4 Game One win.

Game Two: Indians 6, Red Sox 0

Game two was less of a contest and more of a beat down. David Price made the start for Boston, and continued his run of horrible playoff performances. He lasted just 3.1 innings and surrendered five runs, including a homer to Chisenhall, on six hits and two walks. Price is now 0-8 in nine career playoff starts. The Red Sox bullpen, which came on strong toward the end of the season, held the Indians in check for the rest of the game (aside from another run scored thanks to a Pedroia error), but it was already out of reach.

Boston could muster nothing against Indians ace Corey Kluber, who was masterful on the mound for seven innings. Like Porcello, Kluber is a Cy Young candidate this year. Unlike Porcello, he proved it. Kluber allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out seven, and made manager Terry Francona‘s heavy use of his bullpen the previous night all but irrelevant. Shutout innings from Dan Otero and Shaw closed the book on Game Two and sent the series to Boston.

Game Three: Indians 4, Red Sox 3

After being rained out on Sunday, Cleveland and Boston faced off in the third game of the series Monday night in Boston. The Indians put Josh Tomlin on the mound to face off with Clay Buchholz. For the first three innings, neither offense could break through against their opponent. However, that changed thanks to a Tyler Naquin single in the fourth, which drove in two runs. That also essentially ended the night for Buchholz, who didn’t return after the fourth inning. Benintendi doubled in the fifth to score Xander Bogaerts and cut the deficit to one run, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the Indians at bay.

In the top of the sixth, Drew Pomeranz allowed a two-run blast off the bat of Coco Crisp, which essentially put the game out of reach. Ortiz plated Pedroia with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth, and Ramirez drove in Mookie Betts with a single in the eighth to make it a one-run game, but it wasn’t quite enough. Allen came on for Cleveland in the bottom of the eighth and recorded four outs before slamming the door on the Red Sox season.

For the series, the Indians outscored the Red Sox 15-8 and recorded 26 hits to Boston’s 21.

Cleveland will next host the Blue Jays in Game One of the ALCS on Friday, October 14, at 8:00 P.M. ET. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will now try to regroup and prepare for the 2017 season, which will be their first without Ortiz since 2002.

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