ALCS rematch on tap in Cleveland
Cleveland (5-7) vs. Boston (7-6), Monday, 7:05 p.m. ET
BOSTON -- In the middle of their sweeps month last October -- the Red Sox took three straight from the Angels and four in a row from the Colorado Rockies -- there was a fierce battle with the Cleveland Indians.
The Red Sox, if you remember, needed a gallant comeback to survive that memorable American League Championship Series. Down, 3-1, in the best-of-seven series, the Sox turned the tables in emphatic fashion, winning the last three games by an aggregate score of 30-5.
On Monday night in Cleveland, the sides meet again for the start of a two-game series.
The Red Sox hope to come out on top again, though the stakes aren't nearly as high. At this stage of the game, both sides are just trying to get in some kind of a rhythm.
"It's going to be exciting," said Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen. "I think it will be a good battle just because [we remember] being down, 3-1, and we remember [Ryan] Garko's comments about the champagne and all that. It should be pretty exciting to go back over there, and, hopefully, we come out on top."
What Garko said after the Indians didn't win Game 5 of the ALCS in Cleveland is that the champagne would taste just as good in Boston. Unfortunately for the Indians, the Red Sox were the ones to get the bubbly treatment.
Though Sean Casey wasn't a member of the Red Sox during that ALCS, he knows all about the Indians from his time in the AL Central with the Tigers.
"They're good, man, they're good," said Casey, who is starting at first base for the Sox until Mike Lowell returns from the disabled list. "We battled with them when I was with Detroit last year, the last couple of years. You play them 18 times when I was there and you find out that they're a pretty good team. They have good starting pitching, a good bullpen and a great lineup. They're scrappy."
Among the various subplots that will unfold in the rematch, perhaps the biggest involving the Red Sox is David Ortiz. The slugger is hitting .070 (3-for-39), which prompted manager Terry Francona to give him the night off on Sunday against the Yankees. Perhaps the left-handed masher will he be refreshed in his return to the lineup.
"You know, [I'm] just trying to figure things out for a minute so I can go back to being Big Papi again," said Ortiz.
BOS: LHP Jon Lester (1-2, 4.50 ERA)
Lester was inconsistent in his last start, giving up five hits and four runs over 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Tigers on Wednesday. The lefty also walked four and struck out none in that outing. Jacobs Field, the site of this outing, will always mark a special place in Lester's heart. That is where he made his comeback from cancer last July 23 and pitched the Red Sox to victory. Lester has 10 walks and seven strikeouts in 16 innings this season. CLE: RHP Jake Westbrook (1-1, 2.76 ERA)
After a scoreless Spring Training season, Westbrook has taken his stellar command and efficiency into the regular season. He has only one win to show for it because of a tough-luck 2-1 loss to the White Sox in his season debut. In Westbrook's last start against the Angels on Tuesday, he went the distance, giving up three runs on seven hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He needed just 94 pitches to notch the complete-game victory. This will mark Westbrook's first appearance against the Red Sox since Game 7 of the ALCS. Tidbits
Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez -- a member of the Indians from 1993-2000 -- has hit 131 career homers in Cleveland. ... Sox center fielder Coco Crisp is 6-for-8 lifetime against Westbrook. ... Ortiz, trying to break out of one of the worst slumps of his career, is a .235 hitter lifetime at Progressive Field with nine homers and 25 RBIs in 149 at-bats. Tickets
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WRKO 680, SBN 1150 (Español) Up next
Tuesday: Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 1-0, 3.27) at Indians (Paul Byrd, 0-2, 11.05), 7:05 p.m. ET
Wednesday: Red Sox (Clay Buchholz, 0-1, 3.27) at Yankees (Chien-Ming Wang, 3-0, 1.23), 7:05 p.m. ET
Thursday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 1-1, 6.35) at Yankees (Mike Mussina, 1-2, 4.15), 7:05 p.m. ET
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.