Indians bring tired bullpen into Game 2 of ALDS

BY foxsports • October 7, 2016

CLEVELAND -- With the Indians' top setup man and closer extended to the limit in the opener of the American League Division Series, Cleveland goes into Game 2 against the Boston Red Sox on Friday afternoon at a bit of a disadvantage.

Thanks in large part to two scoreless midgame innings from Andrew Miller and 1 2/3 scoreless innings from Cody Allen for the save, the Indians emerged with a 5-4 in Game 1 on Thursday.

Miller and Allen each threw 40 pitches.

"We wanted to win the game tonight, and we did," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "Tomorrow might have to be a different design."

Francona also used Bryan Shaw for two outs, but he was able to avoid employing two other key relievers, Bryan Shaw and Dan Otero.

Even so, Francona will be looking for length out of his Game 2 starter, right-hander Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA), who will oppose Boston left-hander David Price (17-9, 3.99).

Both pitchers will be facing potent lineups that bashed three home runs per side Thursday.

The Red Sox and Indians finished No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the American League in runs scored. Boston led the league in hitting and Cleveland led the league in stolen bases.

"Those guys are so balanced," Francona said of the Boston lineup. "If you keep putting guys on base, they are going to hurt you. They've built quite a lineup."

Price has done well against Cleveland historically. In 14 career starts against the Indians, he is 10-2 with a 2.24 ERA -- his second-lowest career ERA vs. any American League.

Price and Kluber were mound opponents on Opening Day in Cleveland, a 6-2 Red Sox victory on April 5. In that game, Price pitched six innings, allowing two runs on five hits with 10 strikeouts and two walks. Kluber pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on nine hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

Kluber's other start against Boston this year came on May 20 in Fenway Park. Kluber got the win in a 6-2 Indians victory, pitching seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits with six strikeouts and two walks. In nine career appearances against the Red Sox, he is 2-3 with a 4.78 ERA.

"They know what I want to do, and I know what they want to do, so nobody is going to trick anybody," Kluber said. "I am going to try to execute my pitches, and they are going to try to hit my mistakes."

This will be the first career postseason appearance for the 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner.

"I'm sure there will be some nerves, but I get nerves if it's live batting practice in spring training," Kluber said. "That just means you care what you're doing."

Kluber was originally lined up to be Cleveland's Game 1 starter, but he sustained a slightly strained groin that forced him out of his last regular-season start after four innings. His start Friday will be his first in 10 days, as Indians officials wanted to give his groin some extra rest.

"I think the 10 days off did other parts of my body good," Kluber said, "but I'm not worried about (the groin). I had a good couple of bullpens, so I'm not worried about the 10 days' rest."

Unlike Kluber, Price has plenty of postseason experience, though most of it has been forgettable. He has appeared in 14 postseason games, eight of them starts, and has a record of 2-7 with a 5.12 ERA. However, he has never won a postseason game as a starter. In those eight outings, he is 0-7 with a 5.27 ERA.

Price is mindful of his dismal postseason track record.

"I want to go out there and win," he said. "I want to be dominant. I want to have that really good postseason game that I know I'm capable of."

Red Sox manager John Farrell said he gladly would take a start similar to most of Price's regular-season outings.

"When you consider the body of work and how he's been a very dependable guy standing on the mound every five days, he's been a very good starter for us," Farrell said.