Tha Sports Junkies 101

Boston, Cleveland: ALDS Game 1

ALDS David P. via


ALDS Game 1

Whether you are a Cleveland Indians fan, a Boston Red Sox fan or just a baseball fan, you will likely be watching Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday. This series pits two great teams against each other, both of which have won over 90 games this season. Both of these teams have great offenses but pitching will be a huge factor in deciding which team wins the series. We will take a look into Game 1 of the ALDS and breakdown aspects of both teams to see which one has the edge on Thursday.


In Game 1, the Boston Red Sox will start right-hander Rick Porcello. Porcello led the American League in wins during the regular season with 22 as he went 22-4 overall. His 3.15 ERA led the Red Sox and his 5.0 WAR ranked 5th in the American League. Porcello saw an increased work load this season as he threw 223 innings which set a career high for him. In those 223 innings, he recorded 189 strikeouts compared to just 32 walks. While Porcello set a new career high in innings, he set a career low in WHIP at 1.01. There is no doubt that Porcello had a career year in 2016. It was such a great campaign that many experts are saying he should win the AL Cy Young award. While he has some stiff competition, a couple good playoff starts would boost his chances of winning the award.

The Cleveland Indians will counter with Trevor Bauer in Game 1. Bauer is getting the Game 1 start because of injuries to Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. While Kluber could be ready for Game 2, Carrasco and Salazar will not pitch in the ALDS.

Bauer went 12-8 on the season with a 4.26 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 190 innings. He made 35 appearances this season with 28 of those being starts. With Kluber, Carrasco and Salazar healthy for much of the regular season, Bauer was used as a back of the rotation starter. His ERA shows that his stuff may not be as sharp as front of the rotation starters. This is only Bauer’s third full season in the majors. Compare that to Porcello’s eight years of big league experience and this matchup becomes a little lop-sided.

Advantage: Due to the fact that the Indians are starting their fourth best starter in this game, the advantage will be to the Red Sox. Porcello is a potential Cy Young winner this season and should be able to go 6 or 7 innings for the Red Sox.


The offense that these two teams have had this year is absolutely incredible. Boston has the best offense in baseball as they have scored 878 runs and amassed a .282 team batting average. David Ortiz is going out with a bang this season. He leads the team with 38 home runs and 127 RBI’s while hitting .315. Ortiz has been so good this year that it’s easy to forget that he is 40 years old and set to retire at season’s end.

Behind Ortiz, the Red Sox have built a great core of young players headlined by: Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. These three have combined to hit 78 home runs this season. Betts, who has 31 of those, leads the Red Sox with a .318 batting average and 214 hits.

Another young player for the Red Sox who is starting Game 1 is Andrew Benintendi. He played in 34 games during the regular season and hit 2 home runs. Benintendi also recorded a .295 batting average to go along with his 14 RBI’s and 10 walks.

Veterans Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez will start Game 1 at second base and first base respectively. Pedroia has a .318 average with 15 home runs and 74 RBI’s this season. He has a 4.4 offense WAR which ranks 4th on the team. Ramirez has hit 30 home runs and driven in 111 RBI’s while hitting .286 this season. He has a slightly lower 3.3 offense WAR but has been valuable to the Red Sox during the regular season.

Brock Holt and Sandy Leon will also start Game 1 for the Red Sox. Holt has played in 94 games for the Sox this season and recorded a .255 batting average to go along with his 7 home runs and 34 RBI’s. Leon has only appeared in 78 games this season but has matched Holt’s production with 7 home runs and 35 RBI’s. Holt will play third base while Leon will catch Porcello.

The Indians will counter with a lineup that is led by Carlos Santana, Jose Ramirez and Mike Napoli. Santana has 34 home runs and 87 RBI’s to back up his .259 average. Ramirez leads Cleveland with a .312 batting average but has only 11 home runs to show for it. He does make a lot of contact as he has 176 hits which is only 6 off of the team lead. Napoli has been a power-hitting first baseman just as many had expected. He has 34 home runs and 101 RBI’s to go along with his .239 batting average. With only a 1.4 WAR, one would not expect Napoli to have 34 home runs as he does. During the course of the season, Napoli has proven that he can hit for power and that is a big reason he is batting cleanup.

Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor make up the middle infield for the Indians. Kipnis hit 23 home runs and drove in 82 RBI’s during the regular season. Lindor did not put up those types of numbers but he did lead the team with 182 hits. Fifteen of those hits were home runs while he also drove in 78 runs.

Lonnie Chisenhall, Coco Crisp and Tyler Naquin make up the outfield for the Indians in Game 1. Chisenhall has recorded 8 home runs and 57 RBI’s while hitting .286 during the regular season. Crisp was acquired from the Oakland Athletics earlier in the season and has had a rough stretch with the Indians. In 20 games, Crisp has hit two home runs and driven in 8 runs while hitting at a .208 clip. Naquin has been solid this season for Cleveland. He has appeared in 116 games and hit 14 home runs. One draw back to Naquin is the fact that he has struck out 112 times in 321 at-bats.

Roberto Perez will do the catching for the Indians in Game 1. Perez has 3 home runs and 17 RBI’s in 153 at-bats this season. He gets the start over Yan Gomes who has not played much in the 2016 season due to shoulder and knee injuries.

Advantage: It’s hard to argue with the fact that the Boston Red Sox had the best offense in baseball during the regular season. The advantage will be with the Red Sox but the Indians hitters may have something to say about that.

Winner: With injuries to 60% of the Indians rotation, they are forced to start Bauer in Game 1. That puts them at a disadvantage against a team that is starting their ace and potential Cy Young award winner. Expect to see the Red Sox powerful offense light up Trevor Bauer and win Game 1 of the ALDS.

Coverage of the game will be on TBS starting at 8:00pm eastern time on Thursday, October 6th.