On Tuesday the Cleveland Indians pushed the Boston Red Sox to the brink of elimination. The Cleveland Indians exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. The inning was highlighted by a three run homer off the bat of Johnny Peralta.
Now the Cleveland Indians are just one game away from joining the Colorado Rockies in the World Series. The series sits at three games to one as the teams get ready to take a night off tomorrow. This was a built-in extra day in case there was a rain delay at some point during the ALCS. So the teams will take a day off, play one more in Cleveland, and then head back to Boston if they need to do so.
And while the teams have the day off, many fans are going to wonder if Boston Manager Terry Francona made the right decision to start Tim Wakefield last night. Francona could’ve started Boston ace Josh Beckett after Beckett only threw eighty pitches in the first game of the series (a win for Boston). But Francona chose to go with number four starter, Tim Wakefield.
Wakefield didn’t exactly pitch poorly. He actually shut the Indians down long enough to try to allow the Bo Sox to build a lead. Then he did give up a homer and some base runners in the fifth inning. But I would blame the bullpen more than Wakefield. The Boston bullpen didn’t do their job when they relieved Wakefield.
I’d also lay some blame the feet of the Boston hitters. They need to get more production out of the other guys in the lineup besides their bug three hitters. If they don’t get better hitting one through nine, then they might as well just clean out their lockers right now.
Beckett will be pitching for Boston on Thursday. He will try to prolong the season for at least one more day. I wouldn’t bet against Beckett either. But then what happens when they go back to Boston? Will Schilling and Dice-K be able to win back to back games. The Red Sox can’t even think about that right now. They just have to concentrate on the next game.
And for the Indians, they want to take care of business in Cleveland. The last thing they want to do is go back to Boston and try to win one more game. So the game tomorrow is of the utmost importance for the Indians too.