The chips fell the right way for the Red Sox on Sunday, the Rays and Rangers both winning to set up a one-game playoff tonight, the winner of which will face the Indians on Wednesday for the right to play Boston in the ALDS.
However, if you figured the Red Sox wouldn’t have to face a No. 1-type starter in Game 1 at Fenway on Friday night, you’d be mistaken.
The Indians’ Ubaldo Jimenez (4-0 with a 1.09 ERA in September), the Rays’ Matt Moore (2.79 ERA this month and 17-4 on the season, though probably more of a No. 2 than a No. 1) and the Rangers’ Yu Darvish (2.40 ERA in his past five starts; AL strikeouts leader) all pitched Sunday, which would set each of them up to pitch on regular rest against the Red Sox in Game 1 of the ALDS.
Moore is 2-0 in two starts against the Red Sox this season. Darvish faced Boston once, striking out 14 in 7 innings in a 4-3 Rangers win on May 5. Jimenez also faced the Red Sox just once this season. He was knocked out in the second inning after allowing seven runs on two hits and five walks, but that was back on April 16, in his third start of the season.
Terry Francona’s Cleveland club has won 10 straight and 15 of 17 to earn its first postseason berth since 2007. Jimenez tied a career high with 13 strikeouts Sunday.
"I just hope we get to keep playing," Francona said after Sunday’s wild-card clinching win. "We don't want to go home."
The Indians are starting Danny Salazar (2-3, 3.12 ERA) in Wednesday’s wild card game. Tonight’s one-game playoff for the second wild card spot pits Rays ace David Price (9-8, 3.39 ERA) against rookie Martin Perez (10-5, 3.55 ERA) in Arlington, Texas.