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Baseball today - October 12

Baseball today - October 12

Kielty gets start over Drew in right field in ALCS opener

BOSTON -- Bobby Kielty will start in right field instead of J.D. Drew for the Boston Red Sox in Friday night's AL championship series opener because of his success against Indians starter C.C. Sabathia.

''He was brought in here to give us some right-handed punch,'' Boston manager Terry Francona said Thursday.

Kielty, a switch-hitter, is 9-for-29 with two homers and four strikeouts in his career against the Cleveland lefty. Drew has faced Sabathia three times with three strikeouts.

Drew played all three games in the AL division series against the Los Angeles Angels and went 2-for-11 with three RBIs. Kielty didn't play in the series.

Boston signed Kielty to a minor league contract on Aug. 6 after he was designated for assignment by Oakland, and the Red Sox brought him up on Aug. 18.

''I've seen the ball well out of his hand,'' Kielty said. ''There's no question when hitters have success against pitchers they always feel mentally more confident.''

Drew struggled much of the season after signing a $70 million, five-year contract as a free agent before the season. He hit .270 with 11 homers and 64 RBIs but hit well late in the season. Kielty hit .231 in 52 at bats for Boston.

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Re: Baseball today - October 12

What bettors need to know: Cleveland Indians at Boston Red Sox

Sabathia vs. Beckett

Boston Red Sox ace Josh Beckett gets the nod for Game 1 of the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians. The 20-game winner was sensational in the ALDS, limiting the Anaheim Angels to four hits en route to a 4-0 Game 1 victory.

"He's a guy that wants to be great. He doesn't want to be pretty good. He wants to be the best guy that takes the mound. That's what you want from your ace," Red Sox third baseman told reporters.

Beckett, who was 20-7 this season with a 3.27 earned run average, has been dominant in the postseason, posting a spectacular 1.74 ERA in seven postseason appearances.

The Indians combat Boston’s ace with 19-game winner C.C. Sabathia. The left-hander was less than stellar in the Indians ALDS against the New York Yankees, allowing two homers and four hits in five innings in the Indians’ 12-3 Game 1 victory.

"He had to work about as hard as he's ever had to work," Indians manager Eric Wedge told reporters.

Sabathia is 2-4 in seven career starts against Boston with a lofty 3.91 ERA. Beckett is 1-3 with an uncharacteristic 6.57 ERA in four career starts against the Indians.

Boston’s bash brothers

If the ALDS was an example of Manny being Manny then Red Sox backers are going to want a repeat performance in the ALCS. Manny Ramirez, the controversial outfielder, was unstoppable against Anaheim, compiling four RBI, two homers and a .315 batting average in Boston’s three-game sweep of the Angels.

"I am one of the best players in the game," Ramirez told reporters, "I have confidence in myself, and I know my train doesn't stop here."

Ramirez loves to hit against his former team, hitting .417 against the Indians this season and .357 against them for his career.

Ramirez isn’t the only Boston slugger that has hit his stride in the postseason. David Ortiz hit two home runs with three RBI in the Red Sox’ three-game sweep of the Indians, boosting his postseason career total to 10, the most in Red Sox history.

“Those guys are the best [No.] 3-4 combination in the big leagues,” shortstop Julio Lugo told “Those guys come through in the clutch. That's why they're so good. They are our run producers. When tough times come, they come through for us. We just follow them.”

Cool, calm and collected

It must be daunting for a small market team to face a $100-million plus MLB roster like that found in Boston and New York.

Not for the Cleveland Indians and their $62 million payroll.

The Indians shocked MLB with their four-game ALDS ousting of the Bronx Bombers and will try to play Cinderella again against the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS.

“We can’t get caught up in the names,” Indians first baseman Ryan Garko told the Detroit Free Press. “We can’t worry about who plays for the other team or how many big names they have. We have to worry about ourselves. That’s what we did all season and that’s what we did against the Yankees.”

The Tribe are 2-5 against the BoSox this season. They finished the season at 96-66, tied with the Red Sox for the best record in MLB.

“I had a feeling Cleveland was going to be where they are right now because they have a team, if you look around, they might not have the big names out there but they have great players,” Boston slugger David Ortiz told the Boston Herald.

Crunching the numbers

Josh Beckett is 5-2 in his last 11 overall starts and the Red Sox are 5-1 in the Red Sox last six games at home against a left-handed pitcher. The Red Sox, most impressively, are 4-0 in their last four ALCS games and are 6-1 in their last seven playoff games at Fenway Park.

"With Beckett pitching that way, it's going to be tough,” pitcher John Lackey told reporters after the Angels’ 4-0 loss to the Red Sox. "You've got to hold down that kind of lineup with not getting much from your side."

On the Cleveland side, C.C. Sabathia is 1-5 in his last six outings against the Red Sox and the Indians are 2-5 in their last seven postseason road games. The Indians are also a disappointing 2-5 in their last seven overall meetings against the Red Sox.

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Re: Baseball today - October 12

Cleveland at Boston

Game 1 of the American League Championship Series features an outstanding pitching matchup, as the Indians’ C.C. Sabathia (20-7, 3.26 ERA) opposes Boston ace Josh Beckett (21-7, 3.13 ERA) in a battle of 20-game winners.

Cleveland upset the Yankees in four games to capture the ALDS, capped by Monday night’s 6-4 win in the Bronx. It was the Indians’ first playoff series win since 1998.

Boston swept the Angels out of the first round and did so impressively, outscoring the Halos by a combined tally of 19-4, including Sunday’s series-clinching 9-1 rout in Los Angeles. Going back to their 2004 World Series run, the BoSox have won 11 of their last 14 postseason games.

Both teams finished with 96 wins in the regular season, but the Red Sox claimed home-field advantage for this series by virtue of taking five of seven regular-season meetings against the Tribe.

Sabathia was effectively wild in Game 1 against the Yankees back on Oct. 4, yielding three runs on four hits and six walks over five innings. But he hung around long enough to earn the 12-3 victory, improving to 2-0 in his postseason career. The Indians are 7-0 in Sabathia’s last seven trips to the mound (3-0 on the road).

The big lefty 8-3 with a 3.32 ERA in 15 road starts this year, allowing three earned runs or fewer in 13 of those 15 outings. Also, he faced the Red Sox just once this year back on July 24 at home and came out on the short end of a 1-0 decision, allowing just the single run on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings. For his career, Sabathia is 2-4 with a 3.91 ERA in seven starts against the Red Sox, including 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA in three starts at Fenway Park.

Beckett toyed with the Angels in Game 1 of the ALDS, pitching a complete-game four-hitter in a 4-0 home win. The righthander is now 3-2 with a 1.74 ERA in six career playoff appearances (five starts).

Including the win over the Angels, Beckett is now 10-5 with a 3.86 at Fenway Park, compared with 11-2 with a 2.18 ERA on the road. Overall, the Red Sox are 22-9 when Beckett pitches, but just 11-7 at home.

Beckett has allowed three earned runs or less in 24 of his 31 starts. That includes both of his starts against the Indians this year, as he surrendered just three runs on seven hits with one walk and 14 strikeouts in 15 innings. However, he went just 1-1, winning 4-2 at home and losing 1-0 in Cleveland. Last year against the Indians, though, Beckett went 0-2 with a 13.97 ERA in two starts.

The under is 5-2 in Beckett’s last seven starts (3-1 at home) and 8-2 in Sabathia’s last 10 starts, (5-0 on the road). Also, the under is 5-1-1 in Sabathia’s seven lifetime starts against Boston (2-0-1 at Fenway) and 2-0 in Beckett’s two outings against the Tribe this season.

The under is 6-2-1 in Cleveland’s last nine games, but the over was 2-1-1 in their playoff series against the Yankees. Also, the under is 5-2 in Boston’s last seven, including 5-1 at home. Finally, five of the seven meetings between these teams this season stayed under the number.

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