Cleveland Indians: What the Tribe’s Pitching Staff is Up Against in the ALDS

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Sep 23, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts (50) singles during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 23, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts (50) singles during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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What Does it all Mean for Cleveland?

Sep 26, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Cody Allen (37) celebrates after the final pitch against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. The Indians won 7-4 to clinch the Central Division title. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Cody Allen (37) celebrates after the final pitch against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. The Indians won 7-4 to clinch the Central Division title. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Many in baseball media seem to believe that the injuries sustained by the Cleveland pitching staff will simply be too much for the team to overcome against so formidable an offensive opponent as Boston. Perhaps those folks are right, but the numbers available suggest the Indians have better odds of success than most will admit.

Yes, the Red Sox have Ortiz in the midst of perhaps the finest final season of a career in the history of the game. And yes, they also have Betts, who is likely to be the latest player to steal a Most Valuable Player award from Mike Trout (an argument for another time) in the American League. They have scored and scored, hit and hit, at a rate no other club in the big leagues could keep pace with this season.

But in the playoffs, what a team has done means little. Every baseball fan has watched a seemingly unbeatable Goliath fall at the hands of an underdog Sampson. Players who barely hit their hat size get hot in the postseason and MVP candidates turn ice cold. That’s why the games are played.

Next: Indians are Smart to Start Kluber in Game 2

All of that said, Boston has a uniquely scary lineup that can win ballgames in a variety of ways. If the Tribe hopes to handcuff that lineup and come out on top in the ALDS, its pitching staff will have to focus, strategize, and execute on a level it never has before. The opportunity is there, it’s just a matter of whether or not the arms can prove mightier than the bats.

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