CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians posted a 2-4 record and were heavily outscored against the Boston Red Sox in their six matchups with the American League East Division Champions.
But as the Indians prepare to host the Red Sox in Game 1 of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field tonight, they are working off of a clean slate, focused squarely on winning one game at a time in an effort to advance in the postseason for the first time since 2007.
“It’s a dream come true, and now, we’ve got to do it and be ourselves,” shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “We’ve got to go play the game the right way, compete every, single pitch. There’s going to be 27 outs. That’s a good team that we’re going to be facing in the first round, but I believe in my Tribe.
“It’s postseason, a whole different ballgame. It’s the postseason. It doesn’t matter what we did in the regular season. It doesn’t really matter. The numbers don’t really matter. We’ll see what’s going to happen. We’ve got to play the game the right way. We’ve got to respect them because they’ve got a good team, and they’ve been in the postseason quite a lot. If we play the game we’re supposed to play the game, it’s going to be a good series.”
The Indians secured the second-best record in the American League and earned home-field advantage for the Division Series with a 3-2 win over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium and Boston’s loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park Sunday.
Winners of the American League Central Division for the first time since 2007, the Indians (94-67) will host Games 1 and 2 of the Division Series against the A.L. East champion Red Sox (93-69) tonight and tomorrow at Progressive Field.
A potential Game 5 of the first round would be played in Cleveland on Wednesday, October 12.
“I think home-field advantage is very nice,” Indians closer Cody Allen said. “I wouldn’t say it’s huge, but it’s definitely good for us just because we’re comfortable and we like playing in this ballpark. We understand that there are some times where we’ve got to go win games on the road as well.
“We do enjoy playing in this ballpark, especially when there’s a lot of people here and it’s loud. I think it pays dividends to be able to hit last for us because I think this is a team that never quits. When you’re the last team to bat and you’ve got a chance to walk-off a team, we’ve been able to do that quite a few times this year. The resiliency and the never-say-die attitude I think pays dividends playing at home.”
The Indians finished the regular-season with a 2-4 record against the Red Sox. In those six meetings, Boston outscored Cleveland, 31-18, including a 15-11 edge at Progressive Field and 16-7 advantage at Fenway Park.
In their history, the Indians have met the Red Sox in postseason play on four occasions, and they hold a 2-2 record in those series. However, they are on a two-series losing streak against Boston, as the Red Sox bested the Indians in the 1999 American League Division Series and 2007 A.L. Championship Series.
“They’re a good club,” Allen said. “I wouldn’t say they’re really any different. They’re a good club that knows how to win ballgames. They’ve got a lot of veteran guys over there that have been through this before, so I’m sure they’re leaning on those guys and they’re leaning on their experience in the past. They’re a good ball club, and it’s going to be a great challenge.”