A breakdown of the possible ALDS matchups

Sam Galanis
Contributing Writer

There’s a question that’s been nagging me for days. It’s been haunting my dreams. It’s a simple question with a complicated answer: Which team are the Red Sox better off playing in the ALDS?

Of course, because it’s the American League, things have to be even more complicated due to the fact that the AL wild card race ended with three winners and needs a tiebreaker game. Ugh. So as of right now, the Red Sox could end up playing one of three teams: the Cleveland Indians, the Texas Rangers, or the Tampa Bay Rays.

Let’s break down all of these playoff situations based on how the regular season matchups went, shall we?

                                             Red Sox vs. Indians
Wins                                            6               1
Runs                                           43             30
Home runs                                   3               4
Team batting average              .271          .242
Team ERA                                 3.71          5.93

Now, these numbers are a little deceiving. Yes, the Sox swept the Indians in Cleveland during a three-game series in April and took three of four in Boston at the end of May. But they haven’t played each other since then, and Cleveland has gotten considerably better in that time. Not to mention they have former Sox manager Terry Francona who not only knows Fenway Park inside and out, but has taken the Sox to two World Series himself. They have a lot of solid young players, and a few very clutch old ones (Who would’ve thought Jason Giambi could still produce?). And they’re currently on a 10-game winning streak. I still think the Sox have the edge over the Indians statistically regardless of when their games were, but there is a possibility that Tito could be Cleveland’s secret weapon.

                                            Red Sox vs. Rangers

Wins                                            2               4
Runs                                           29             27
Home runs                                  8              10
Team batting average             .272           .297
Team ERA                                4.70           4.50

This matchup is a clash of the titans. The Rangers happened to catch the Sox at a low point in their season, with a three-game sweep in Arlington at the beginning of May. But the Sox took two of three in Boston at the beginning of June with a 17-5 blowout, a tough 3-2 loss, and a solid 6-3 win. The Rangers have also proved to be very streaky this season, having a handle on the AL West until they let Oakland take over. They also almost blew their postseason chances in September, going 2-12 in the first half of the month with a seven-game losing streak in there before they went on a seven-game win streak (which they’re still holding onto) to save themselves. The Rangers have been known for self-destruction in recent seasons, but when they’re hot, they’re frightening. If they’re who the Sox end up playing, I would be surprised if this series was less than five games, regardless of the outcome.

                                               Red Sox vs. Rays

Wins                                           12               7
Runs                                            71             57
Home runs                                  13             17
Team batting average               .208         .232
Team ERA                                  2.93         3.54

Ah, a classic AL East battle. The Sox have a winning record against the Rays in Boston and St. Petersburg (6-4 and 6-3 respectively), but the Rays have the edge over the Sox in the second half of the season at 4-3. Still, I think the numbers almost don’t matter in this possible matchup. The Rays only took one series against the Sox this season, and I think the Sox can blow them out of the water if they’re on their A-game. But that’s only fueling the Rays’ fire. The Sox and the Rays are division rivals, the “anything can happen” rule applies more here than anywhere else.

Bonus: Whenever the Sox and the Rays play, chances of a bench-clearing brawl multiply to 87% according to statistics I just made up, so this series would have an extra fun factor.

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