Cleveland Indians: Tribe Must Go All-Out for the Sweep on Monday

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October 6, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (22) reacts after he hits an RBI single in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox during game one of the 2016 ALDS playoff baseball game at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
October 6, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (22) reacts after he hits an RBI single in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox during game one of the 2016 ALDS playoff baseball game at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cleveland Indians have an opportunity to sweep the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, and they must seize it.

With rain postponing Game Three of the American League Division Series between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sunday, the Tribe was forced to put off its plans for bringing out the brooms. After winning the first two games of the series in Cleveland, a sweep is just one more victory away.

The postponement takes away a scheduled day off if the series reaches five games, a fact that potentially works against the Indians. The optimal solution to this, which is much easier said than done, is just to win Game Three on Monday and advance.

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And that’s exactly what the Tribe should go all-out to do, as it will never have a better chance of advancing to the American League Championship Series than right now.

“When you have a lead in a short series you try to win,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said on Sunday. “Because you’re never guaranteed that you’re going to have the lead the next day. So, I think you try to win every game you can. You might be less inclined to chase a win a little bit, but again, in a short series you’re never guaranteed you’re going to have a lead, so when you have a lead you go for it.”

The Indians will have Josh Tomlin starting the game on seven days rest and a bullpen that has been fully rested for two days. The team will be going against right-hander Clay Buchholz who, despite a solid finish to the season, did not have a particularly effective year (4.78 ERA, 5.06 FIP, 95 ERA+) and has posted a career 4.21 ERA in the postseason, going winless in five starts.

The iron will never be hotter for the Tribe to join the Toronto Blue Jays, who completed a sweep of the Texas Rangers in extra innings on Sunday night, in the ALCS.

“We put ourselves in a good position to only have to win one game,” Cleveland pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. “And we’re going to go all-out for one of those wins.”

Beyond Buchholz, the Red Sox have Rick Porcello and David Price waiting for Games Four and Five, and though the Indians beat both already in this series, avoiding them is in the team’s best interests. Boston seemed defeated after losing the first two games, with Dustin Pedroia going so far as to say the club had “lost themselves,” and providing any reason for encouragement and confidence is a dangerous scenario.

Whatever the Tribe needs do to win Game Three, they must do it.

“We’re going to focus on that day,” Callaway said. “Figure out tomorrow, tomorrow. We’re going to try to win every game, just like we normally would throughout the season. I don’t think a 2-0 lead impacts that at all.”

Next: Tribe Thriving on Playoff Doubters

This isn’t the regular season, much as the players and coaches try to downplay the significance of the playoffs, and a 2-0 lead most certainly does impact the way the game is played. Cleveland has been locked in and outplayed Boston to get that lead, and needs to throw tomorrow out the window to sweep the Red Sox away on Monday night.

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