At first glance, Sunday’s rainout of Game 3 at Fenway Park between the Indians and Red Sox could potentially create some positives for Cleveland. But if you ponder it some more, there are some potential downsides which could favor Boston to the rescheduled American League Division Series matchup.
Among the good things to come out of Sunday’s rescheduled ALDS contest for Cleveland — a best-of-five series the Tribe currently leads 2-0 — is the ability, if needed, for Trevor Bauer to start Tuesday on regular rest in Game 4.
Due to several injuries in Cleveland’s starting pitching staff, Bauer was originally slated to pitch on short rest at Fenway Park on Monday. But with Game 3 pushed back to Monday, Bauer will get the benefit of pitching on four full days of rest after tossing 4 2/3 innings in Game 1 at Progressive Field.
Josh Tomlin, who was scheduled to pitch Sunday, will instead take the ball for Cleveland in Monday’s rescheduled game. And if necessary, Corey Kluber will be ready to start Wednesday’s Game 5 at Progressive Field with an additional day of rest.
However, the original set up of the ALDS between the Indians and Red Sox, with off days scheduled on Saturday and Tuesday, allowed Cleveland the ability to rely more heavily on their talented bullpen than normal. The Tribe’s strong pen, knowing the benefit of Saturday’s off day loomed, was able to toss 4 1/3 innings in Game 1 to help Cleveland emerge victorious in the ALDS opener.
Andrew Miller and Cody Allen, the Indians’ two best relievers, combined to toss 80 pitches in the win.
A 6-0 victory by the Indians in Game 2 kept Miller and Allen out of Friday’s ballgame.
If the series does go the full five games, playing one game on three consecutive days could conceivably limit manager Terry Francona’s pen usage over the next three days, but the manager has indicated on multiple occasions that winning the current day’s game will always take precedent in the postseason.
Sunday’s rainout might also impact Boston’s starting rotation over the next three games.
With Clay Buchholz still scheduled to start Game 3, the Red Sox could elect to bring back Rick Porcello, their AL Cy Young candidate, in Game 4 on regular rest at Fenway Park. The Indians beat up Porcello in Game 1, scoring five runs in 4 1/3 innings, which could impact Boston’s decision.
The easiest way for Cleveland to avoid any potential problematic scenarios in the coming days is to knock the Red Sox out of the postseason with a win in Game 3, a victory which would complete the three-game sweep of Boston in the best-of-five series.
Monday’s rescheduled matchup between Cleveland and Boston will begin at 6:08 p.m. ET.